There was a lot of excitement that followed this man to the 2012 starting lineup. Hey, a lamp would have done a better job than Wayne Hunter, right? He held the job all season, to some mixed reviews. He played well sometimes, not well at other times. The eye test has made people wonder if Howard should be the guy going forward. Let’s take a look at some ratings, from our friends over at Pro Football Focus.
Overall, he is ranked as the 31st overall tackle in the league with an 8.5 rating, which admittedly would make you wonder if he is the right guy. But if you take a look at the individual categories, you see the potential that this young man has. Let me show you what I mean;
In run blocking, Austin was ranked eighth with a 9.6 rating, placing him higher than well known guys like Nate Soldier(7.7), Eric Winston(7.3), and Sebastian Vollmer(5.1). According to Football Outsiders, the Jets fared rather well when running to Austin’s side of the line, averaging 4.83 yards per carry off right tackle, and 5.95 yards per carry off right end. Austin was excellent in the running game.
His biggest problems were in the passing game. Austin Howard was the 60th ranked tackle in the league with a -5.1 ranking. He was also tied for the 3rd highest allowed sack total amongst tackles with 10. We have to give it time, though, because remember, teams set all of their top rushers to face Austin Howard. Give him time to establish himself, he will get better and better in the passing game.
Let’s see how Wayne Hunter fared last year, to punctuate the point:
Overall: 71st, -20.3
Pass Block: 71st, -14.1
Run Block: 52nd, -2.9
Sacks Allowed: 3rd most, 11
Clearly, Austin Howard is a huge step up from Wayne Hunter. He is not just a stop-gap player. If we give him the chance, he will do the job just fine. Give him a chance, and leave him alone.