Once again, it's Wayne Hunter vs. the world.
The New York Jets right tackle did nothing to silence his detractors in a disturbing performance Saturday night against the New York Giants.
Mark Sanchez paid the price as Hunter allowed no less than four quarterback sacks in the first half. One of them was wiped out by penalty, but the sight of Giants defensive linemen swinging past Hunter at will was burned into the mind of Jets fans.
Hunter understands that.
"Either you perform or you don't perform. If I don't, they're going to find someone to bring in and compete and get the job done," he told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
Hunter has dealt with back problems in the past, but he said that wasn't bothering him against the Giants. "I need to get something figured out before the first game, though," he said.
Hunter has endured his share of slings and arrows this offseason. After the Jets issued a vote of confidence in the veteran, they pulled the trigger on a trade for former Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Jeff Otah. The deal fell through, leaving Hunter in the starting role.
Hunter is part of a New York line that no longer pushes back opponents with ease. Protecting the quarterback appears beyond this group's skill set. Hunter isn't the only problem here, but for now, he's the scapegoat. A good chunk of the blame is on target.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.