Schwartz: Hunter’s Days Appear To Be Numbered; Thoughts From Jets Family Night
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By Peter Schwartz
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Wayne Hunter was a no-go for the Jets family night practice Tuesday at MetLife Stadium. He attended team meetings earlier in the day and then had a private conversation with head coach Rex Ryan, where it was determined that he would not participate in the event.
“We had a conversation that was a personal thing and that’s the way that it will remain,” said Ryan. “It’s personal. I’m not going to get into it. It’s between Wayne and I. He was here for meetings and I was OK with him missing practice.”
A report has surfaced that the Jets are looking around for a new right tackle, so it appears that Hunter’s time with New York, at least as the starter, could be coming to an end.
“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,” said Ryan. “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.”
Translation: There’s no way Hunter is the starting right tackle on September 9 for the season opener against the Bills.
However, Hunter should be back at practice Wednesday and is expected to start Sunday night against Carolina at MetLife Stadium.
Calvin Pace also did not practice Tuesday night after he had a wisdom tooth removed. He is also expected back on Tuesday.
Santonio Holmes was limited again in practice and wore the red jersey so that nobody would hit him. He made a nice touchdown catch in practice.
Mark Sanchez had a strong practice but was picked off by Yeremiah Bell and Darrelle Revis. The Revis pick was an acrobatic interception near the goal line that he bobbled and pulled down.
Stephen Hill continues to be inconsistent at times. He made a spectacular deep catch but also dropped an easy short pass. He also made a great catch in the end zone beating Isaiah Trufant, but the official ruled him to be out of bounds.
The quarterbacks, once again, held their garbage can competition at the end of practice. A garbage can was placed in the back right corner of the end zone. All four quarterbacks tried to get it in the can from about the 15- or 20-yard line. After hitting the top of the can twice, Tim Tebow was the only one to get one in — from 25 yards out.
The kicking competition is very close. Josh Brown was 4-4 in field goals at the end of practice Tuesday night including boots from 50 and 55 yards. Nick Folk was 3 of 4. My gut feeling: The Jets will go with Josh Brown.
ALL IN THE JERSEY FAMILY
I don’t want to come off like an angry Long Islander, but I am. On my ride from Long Island to the Meadowlands Tuesday for “Jets Family Night” at MetLife Stadium, my anger grew and grew with each mile and as I drove over the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, up the Harlem River Drive, and over the George Washington Bridge.
This was supposed to be “Jets Family Night” on Long Island. The practice was supposed to take place at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University. The Jets’ true fan base from the Long Island and Queens was supposed to get a chance to see Gang Green on their own turf, on the same campus that hosted training camp for 40 years.
I was supposed to have a ten minute drive to work. Instead it was an hour and fifteen minutes.
For the second straight year, the Hofstra practice was wiped out. Last year, understandably, it was because of the threat of rain, but this year the reasoning just didn’t make sense. Hofstra claimed that because of the upcoming presidential debate, on-campus maintenance had to be scheduled for late August including at Shuart Stadium.
However, the debate is in the basketball arena. So why would there be maintenance needed at the stadium for the debate?
What in the name of Weeb Ewbank Hall is going on here?
“As we said before, our annual routine campus maintenance has been affected due to the hosting of additional events on campus, notably the debate,” said Stephen Gorchov, Hofstra’s associate director of athletic communications. “A variety of schedules have been changed, including maintenance at James M. Shuart Stadium.”
Despite the fact that Hofstra called off the practice, the plan is to try again in 2013.
“We are committed and look forward to hosting the New York Jets next year and in the future and it is our understanding that they feel the same way,” said Gorchov.
Keep in mind that Hofstra pulled the plug on a football program that produced many NFL players including Wayne Chrebet. While Hofstra plays host to Long Island high school playoff games, we know that football is not high on the priority list of university president Stuart Rabinowitz.
When the Jets training camp schedule was announced in early July, the Hofstra practice was set for August 21. However, on July 25, the day before the Jets reported to Cortland for camp, Hofstra pulled the plug.
With a little more notice, the Jets might have been able to make other arrangements for another venue on Long Island.
“A great deal of planning takes place for the team’s practice on Long Island,” according to a Jets spokesperson.
A potential landing spot could have been further east on Long Island where the Jets would have been welcomed with open arms.
“When we found that they were going to MetLife, I was, aw… we wanted that (practice),” according to Jim Fiore, athletic director at Stony Brook. “I found out because my phone and my email and my text messages were blowing up saying why aren’t you guys hosting this (practice).”
Stony Brook almost landed Jets training camp back in 2009, but the Jets opted for Cortland. When Fiore found out about the cancellation of the Hofstra practice, he figured that Stony Brook could have another chance to host the Jets, even if it was only one night. He immediately reached out to his contacts at the Jets to let them know that the university would do whatever they could to host the practice.
“We would arrange our preseason football schedule to accommodate them,” said Fiore. “We would love to have them if they want to come. They have an open invitation.”
The Jets say that they remain committed to servicing their Long Island fan base. Maybe the Jets should take Stony Brook up on their offer in 2013. After all, Stony Brook is a football school. Hofstra pulled the plug on it a couple years ago.
An announced crowd of 2,500 fans attended the practice in the 82,000-seat MetLife Stadium. What’s sad is that there would have been a full house of 15,000 at Hofstra had the practiced taken place there.
The practice was supposed to start at 5:30 p.m., but at 4:56, the Jets alerted the media that practice would start early — at 5:00 p.m. That’s a terrible job. It would have been hard enough for fans to get here after work for 5:30, but to announce the time change with four minutes notice is insane.
The Jets will practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park the rest of the week. Thursday (12:30 p.m.) and Friday’s (11:20 a.m.) practices are open to the public. For more info, go to the Jets’ official website.
Saturday is an off day for the Jets before Sunday night’s nationally televised pre-season game against the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
That’s all for now! Check back soon for more!
Do you think Hunter will be the starting right tackle on Sept. 9? Be heard in the comments below…