I was just listening to the Rex Ryan press conference where he announced Wayne Hunter would be moved back to the role he had in 2009 and 2010 which is blocking TE on running plays and could even help as a 6th man on the line on passing plays. If you look at the numbers from 2009 and 2010 and compare them to 2011 we obviously ran the ball much better with Hunter in as the blocking TE then we did with Mulligan last year. This obviously all hinges on the idea that Howard can hold his own at right tackle. But I could see a scenario where Howard and Hunter are lined up next to each other double teaming a guy like Mario Williams in Game 1 this year. Rex made a great point that Mulligan only had 2 catches last year so using a guy like Hunter there isn't going to take anything away from the passing offense, in fact it will probably help b/c of the better protection. Lets be honest I know that Hunter has struggled in 1:1 pass protection but would you rather have him and Howard up against the likes of Mario Williams or Howard and Cumberland/Baker? It's a no brainer to me. So just by making this move, which was waaaaay overdue, I think we may have strengthened two positions at once. Just my opinion but I am optimistic that we have really helped our teams pass protection and run blocking
Yeah, maybe Hunter actually has some value. Apparently he was solid doing this in 09 and 10. One thing we know for sure is the guy can't start. Interested to see if Austin Howard can hold his own. I just want this guy to be decent.
I posted this yesterday in other thread (in response to going out and getting a blocking TE), but it seems to fit here....so rather than re-type the same response:
Ideally, we'd have a 2nd TE who was primarily a blocking TE but who could also catch. I always use Matt Spaeth, when he was on the Stillers as the quintessential example (I have no idea what he did on the Bears, TBH). But, looking at our roster as it currently stands.....Do we really need to go out and find a blocking TE right now?
I was in this camp too for a while but the Jets basically use their blocking TE as a 6th lineman, so why not simply use the 6th lineman and use the extra roster spot on a receiving TE, which really is more valuable in the long run? If the choice is cutting Cumberland or Baker in exchange for some crap TE who can block perfectly fine but can't catch a lick, might as well just keep those guys and use Austin Howard in jumbo sets.
The team doesn't throw to that guy anyway, as much as we could have. And now, I have no hope that we could find a guy who blocks who also could even catch a cold. Might as well use the roster space for someone else.
Is it completely unlikely Hunter could run a route and catch a pass? The reason I ask is whenever anyone talks about Hunter, they same the same thing over and over "great athleticism". Maybe this is something he could flourish at. I say go all the way, change his number, list him as a tight end, and use him as a lineman when injuries occur.