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Hunting Hunter

Posted By Aaron Scheinblum On Aug 19 2012 @ 1:07 pm In New York Jets,NFL | No Comments

It’s only the preseason; but after last night’s 26-3 lackluster performance against their Metlife Bowl nemesis the New York Giants, the New York Jets and their loyal fan base did not hesitate to begin pointing fingers. And it began with offensive lineman Wayne Hunter.

After starting all 16 games last season for the Jets, the starting Tackle performed abysmally while the Giants’ front-four on defense traveled en route to seven sacks and a handful of run plays for losses. Wording it kindly, Hunter was not even a speed bump on the Giant defensive line’s highway to sacking the Jets’ quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow.

Things were looking brightly for Sanchez early on. His throws were crisp and on target, until wide receiver Patrick Turner allowed a 3rd-and-1 pass play to go right through his hands, forcing the Jets to punt (as they did multiple times throughout the game). Sanchez’s body language and facial expressions clearly portrayed a mentality of “if you won’t help me, then I’ll do it on my own.”

Minutes later, Sanchez forces and under-throws his man on a crossing-out route towards the sideline, leading to the advertised pick-6; without a doubt, Sanchez best represented the Jets, throwing 9/11 (technically completing ten passes, except one was for a touchdown to the other team). He easily outplayed his teammate and immediate competition Tim Tebow.

After throwing 5-of-14, averaging below 5 yards per completion and being sacked four times for 33 yards, Tebow was poorly protected; he was also being put in position to fail.

But it’s only the preseason.

The Jets have been using Tebow in preseason in situations like playing under-the-center and playing an empty backfield shotgun. Translation: there is no option. Tebow has said that the run-pass option system is “his game,” and in a place where both quarterbacks are looking for their opportunity to succeed, it seems obvious that the Jets aren’t interested in Tebow falling back into his comfort zone.

Starting the second half down 13-0 seemed like your traditional Tebow comeback setup, but the offensive situations and play-calling didn’t morph into allowing Tebow to conform to the icon from the Florida Gators, or even the almost Cinderella run in Denver last season. Through the display of last night’s exhibition, head coach Rex Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff aren’t interested in Tebow displaying his magical abilities; they want him to become more educated within the Jets system. Whatever happens in preseason is a mere learning experience.

There is nothing more popular from their loss, however, than hunting Wayne Hunter. The media (and social media/Twitter) world have obviously shown their disapproval with their veteran offensive lineman. Even the lead play-by-play commentator for the New York Jets agreed.

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Since last night, Hunter has been moved down in the depth chart and, if his post-game comments were any consolation, is well aware the Jets will be hosting a variety of offensive linemen before their opener on September 9th.

And by the way, the scoreboard does not accurately reflect the performance by the Jets defense. They held the Giants to one offensive touchdown (that came midway through the 4th quarter) and they allowed a mere 12 points prior on field goal kicks, the first two as result of great Giants field position after punts. They also forced Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning to throw an on-the-run, out of the pocket throw to avoid an inevitable sack; it was significantly overthrown and easily intercepted. It seems obvious that despite losing Safety Eric Smith to a sprained MCL for at least a couple weeks, the Jets defense has nowhere near as many question marks as their offensive counterparts.

But it’s only the preseason.

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