Rex Ryan Standing Behind Wayne Hunter, For Now
By Alan Schechter
Aug 15, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan walks back to the locker room following practice at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE
Rex Ryan may not be giving the starting job to Wayne Hunter just yet, but he is not going to give up on him entirely either. In fact, yesterday, he addressed the rumors that the team is looking for another tackle:
With all due respect, Chris (Mortensen) is not a part of any discussions I have had with Mike Tannenbaum. I don’t know where a source comes from. One thing we will always look at it is if there is a player out there that we feel will help our football team, then we will explore that possibility. With that being said, I am not saying that we are looking at a right tackle or we are looking at whatever, but honestly I am pretty happy with the roster we have. We are going to have some tough decisions on this roster with being able to keep all of our guys. We are going to end up letting some good players go and that is just the way it is. I like this team. Obviously, it hasn’t shown up on the scoreboard yet but it will soon.
When the question of whether or not the team is looking for a tackle is repeated, Rex responded like so:
Again, if there is something out there, at this time people are looking to move a player or this player, but right now to say that we are in the market for a starting right tackle, I don’t believe that to be an accurate statement.
Wayne Hunter was not in attendance at the Tuesday night practice at MetLife Stadium, but this had nothing to do with his status on the team. Per coach Ryan, Hunter was at team meetings earlier in the day, and after a private conversation, Hunter was excused from the practice. After repeated attempts to find out whether the conversation, the approved absence from practice was performance related, Rex had this to say:
Again guys, it’s personal. I’m not going to get in to (the discussion) with Wayne and I. I’ll just say he was here for meetings and I was ok with him missing practice today.
Remember a few things here. Just because they aren’t looking for a tackle, doesn’t mean that Wayne Hunter is guaranteed the starting job. They do have Austin Howard on the roster, who has taken a fair percentage of first team snaps, even when Hunter is at practice. The battle is not over yet.
Secondly, cuts are coming. Tackles will be among those cuts. They may not be looking now, but the right guy might get cut in the coming weeks.