After tackle Jeff Otah failed his initial physical a week ago, it was hard not to take a pessimistic view of his future with the New York Jets. The spin control started yesterday as comments were leaked out to the media about Otah not being likely to pass and people doubting he could help the team if he did. Rex Ryan simultaneously praised Wayne Hunter’s performance at camp so far in seeming preparation for Otah being shipped back to Carolina today.
Sure enough, Otah failed his physical and has left the Jets exactly where they started a week ago at right tackle. It is Wayne Hunter and a bunch of players on the roster who aren’t viable competitors to him.
Don’t buy the Mike Tannenbaum line of BS about Austin Howard being a competitor for the spot. If he was, the Jets wouldn’t have traded for Otah in the first place or signed journeyman Stephon Heyer. Vladimir Ducasse has been shifted to guard permanently to compete with Matt Slauson so he isn’t in the mix either. Everything Tannenbaum said today indicates that the Jets will likely now bring in another player to compete with Hunter.
Vernon Carey is a logical assumption, however the Jets could wait a week or so to see if there are any cuts in training camp or trades to be had with teams with depth at the position. With each passing day it does become more likely that Hunter will be the right tackle week one versus Buffalo.
If the Jets weren’t fully confident in Hunter (and the original decision to trade for Otah implies that) it begs the question why they didn’t pursue a player like Eric Winston in the off-season. They are now at the point where they will be putting a band-aid on a position that could remain a problem area in 2012.