Monday, October 31, 2011
Slauson: Hunter an upgrade over Woody
By Rich Cimini
At the start of the season, the big question on the offensive line was whether career backup Wayne Hunter would be able to replace the popular Damien Woody, the starting right tackle from 2008 to 2010. After seven games, one player -- LG Matt Slauson -- is convinced that Hunter is better than Woody.
"I watch a lot of things on the NFL Network and ESPN, and they're all saying, 'Well, the Jets aren't running the ball because they're not the same team. They don't have those guys that can grind on you, play after play,'" Slauson said Monday. "That just isn't true. We have the guys. Our offensive line is the same, except we have Wayne and, in our opinion, that's an upgrade."
Told that he probably wouldn't receive a Christmas card from Woody, who retired before the season to become an ESPN studio analyst, Slauson replied, "I never did, so ..."
Slauson added, "I like Damien. He's a really good player. He'd had a hell of a career, but Wayne is an incredible athlete. As long as we continue to work and learn and execute, our line is going to be better in the coming games and the coming years."
Woody, in his new gig, has been critical of the Jets, saying recently they had lost their mentality as a Ground-and-Pound offense.
Hunter got off to a shaky start, but he has settled down in recent weeks. Unofficially, he has allowed a team-high three sacks and he leads the offense in penalties (four for 35 yards).