Jets bench Hunter in favor of Howard

Wayne Hunter.
GETTY IMAGES

After having spent much of the last year blaming right tackle Wayne Hunter for their woes, Jets fans have to find a new whipping boy.

On Thursday morning, head coach Rex Ryan announced that Hunter is no longer the team’s starting right tackle and that Austin Howard will be given a shot at the job.

Last season, in his first full year as a starter, Hunter was criticized by fans and media for his pass protection. Then on Saturday night during a preseason loss to the Giants, Hunter gave up three sacks and was again booed by the crowd at MetLife Stadium. Ryan underscored that he expected Hunter to be his starter for Week 1 against Buffalo on Wednesday.

A day later, he said Hunter will be holding down a spot on the sidelines.

“Again, he’s played 10 years and I know he’s been heavily criticized. Was he perfect as a starting tackle? No, but you know what? Nobody is perfect,” Ryan said. “I’m saying this, I know the success that he had and the success he had when I got here the first two years in this role can be really helpful for this team. That’s what I’ve decided to do. We’re going to get Austin Howard a shot to be with this first group.”

Howard is in his third year in the NFL and has always been viewed as a bit of a project. He has played in just four games, and started one, between two years with Philadelphia and one in Baltimore.

With such a limited resume, Howard remains a bit of a mystery and it remains to be seen if he anchors the right side of the line any better than Hunter.

“Any opportunity to go out there and perform and go out there with the ones is a blessing,” Howard said. “It’s just a matter to go out there, take advantage of the opportunity and continue to get better.”

The new role for Hunter is reminiscent of the first two years under Ryan. Hunter was very much a utility player. His athleticism was used as a back-up tackle and guard and he also was the jumbo tight end. On occasion, Hunter would be called in on defense for goal-line snaps.

“I got to work my way up again,” Hunter said. “As it is right now, I want to help the team anyway possible and right now I can help the team best being that jumbo tight end that I was before and being the sixth man.”

No one was surprised by the move, least of all Hunter.

“No, it wasn’t a surprise. Everyone knows — all of New York City knows — I’ve been struggling the past year and that last game I didn’t do much better. I wasn’t surprised. I was waiting for it to be honest with you,” Hunter said. “I knew I was struggling. I knew everything was kind of going south for me, but at the same time I wanted to help the team any way possible. I love the Jets. I love this organization. Again, moving to this position is the best thing for me right now, I guess.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.