By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
Headed into this offseason, just about everyone in the football world knew that the Jets needed a new right tackle, as Wayne Hunter was a massive liability in just about every game the Jets played in.
However, for some unknown reason, Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets’ brass ignored the entire situation, almost as if they were hoping it would magically go away.
No offensive lineman were selected in the draft. No free agents were brought in to compete with Hunter to start. It took until late July for the Jets to make a move and trade for Jeff Otah, which fell through because Otah could not pass a physical. The fact that the Jets took so long to make any kind of improvement at the position makes it seem like they just forgot about the position.
Even though Rex Ryan is a defensive coach, he knows a bad offensive lineman when he sees one. He could not have seriously gone into this season thinking that Wayne Hunter was going to be so much better than last year that he would not have to bring in any competition.
What we saw Saturday night was not only the same old Wayne Hunter, it was actually an even worse Wayne Hunter than we have ever seen. Allowing four sacks in a half of football is not just substandard; its embarrassing.
Hunter was so bad that he was, at one point, the number one trending topic worldwide on Twitter. That’s right: a right tackle was more popular than anyone else in the world because of his performance in a preseason game.
Ultimately, the blame rests on Mike Tannenbaum’s shoulders. While he was busy trading for Tim Tebow, every decent tackle on the market got scooped up. The Jets didn’t even sniff in Eric Winston’s direction and did not bother trying out guys like Max Starks. Tannenbaum’s inability to act baffled Jets fans all summer, and it is all coming to a point now.
Personally, I have always been a fan of Mr. T. A savvy salary cap manager who has found some elite talent in the draft during his tenure as GM, the Jets have at least been relevant in almost every season under his watch.
But in this case, there is really no defending Tannenbaum. He put a ton of faith in a player that performed terribly last year and was only getting worse as the season went on.
The onus is now on Rex Ryan to make up for Mike Tannenbaum’s mistake. How? By starting any other player than Wayne Hunter, whether its Austin Howard, Stephon Heyer, or even Vladimir Ducasse. What are they afraid of? Letting up more sacks than Hunter has? At this point, any other option has to be available.
The good news is, Saturday’s game does not count in the win-loss column. But if the Jets don’t act soon and find another option at right tackle, its going to cost them their season.