Rex Ryan: Wayne Hunter no shoo-in to start for New York Jets

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets' offense is struggling mightily, and a lot of the blame is being dumped on Wayne Hunter's massive shoulders.

The starting right tackle knows he needs to get better -- and fast.

"It's all correctable," Hunter said after practice Monday. "It's all stuff that I've got to work on myself."

Coach Rex Ryan would not commit to Hunter being the starting right tackle for the regular-season opener against Buffalo after the offensive lineman had a lousy performance in the Jets' 26-3 loss to the New York Giants on Saturday night.

Hunter was manhandled on three sacks of Mark Sanchez, and a fourth was negated by a penalty. He struggled most of last season as the starter, but the Jets still guaranteed his $2.45 million base salary for this year.

"My confidence is fine," he said. "I've just got to get better at my craft and I'll be fine. I'm the starting right tackle until they say otherwise."

Austin Howard, who spent most of last season on the Jets' roster but didn't play, has been getting some snaps with the first-team offense. Ryan left open the possibility that Howard could see some time with the starters in the Jets' next game against Carolina on Sunday night.

"We'll see," Ryan said. "I think he's had his moments in camp where we are really impressed with him, but then there's other things where he's got to pick his game up, as well, but we'll see how it goes right here this week."

Both Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano refused to put all the blame for the offense's struggles on Hunter. The Jets are the only team in the NFL yet to score a touchdown this preseason.

"We've got to get better, and it's not just Wayne Hunter," Ryan said. "All of us across the board have got to pick our game up. Were there some glaring mistakes? Well, when you are isolated one-on-one sometimes against one of the premier pass rushers in the game, it becomes clear when you make a mistake."

But Sparano added that those mistakes are correctable, including how the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Hunter put all of his weight on his outside foot while giving up the first of Jason Pierre-Paul's two sacks.

"Those things are things that Wayne was back out there today working hard at," Sparano said. "I was pleased to see the way he came to work today and his demeanor out there on the practice field."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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