|Wayne Hunter is happy to be out of New York. (US Presswire)|
It was right tackle Wayne Hunter's inability to block that finally sent Tim Tebow off the deep end. That was the impression, anyway, after the Jets' backup quarterback took a beating in a preseason game against the Giants last month. Whatever the reality, coach Rex Ryan benched Hunter for former undrafted free agent Austin Howard before eventually trading him to the Rams for tackle Jason Smith.
Hunter's struggles in New York were exacerbated by an unforgiving fanbase. ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini wrote last week that during the Jets' third preseason game, Hunter "was verbally abused by unruly fans (after giving up a fourth-quarter sack). Hunter lost his temper and had to be restrained by teammate Vladimir Ducasse."
Needless to say, Hunter's glad to be out of New York and he points to the incident above as proof that Jets fans can be a demanding bunch.
"They're like sharks," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jim Thomas. "If they don't like you, they let you know right off the bat. And even if you're doing good, they might just not like you for the heck of it. It's brutal over there. Those fans, they know what they want, and they pretty much demand it. So if you don't give it to them, they'll let you know."
Now Hunter finds himself with a Rams team that won a whopping two games last season and he couldn't sound more ecstatic.
"I'm so happy for a fresh new start," he told Jim Thomas. "I think it's what I needed. I think it's what we both needed, from what I heard."
Kellen Clemens, who played with Hunter in New York and was released by the Rams on Friday, said he didn't think that Hunter's situation was entirely his fault.
"How much he struggled there is debatable," Clemens said. "Certainly, in that market once they smell blood in the water now, it gets vicious in a hurry. But Wayne is a great guy, first and foremost as a person. Great father. So he'll be a great addition to the locker room, and he'll really help at the offensive line spot. ... He's a good player. He really is. Very athletic. Very strong. Scary strong."
But nowhere near as scary as Rex Ryan saying things like this might be "the best team I've had," "I know I'm a great coach," and that quarterback Mark Sanchez is a "strength not a weakness."