Wayne Hunter has been something of a whipping boy on GGN for his play this year. This is due in no small part to a horrific start pass blocking. He allowed eleven passing plays to be impacted because of a lost assignment in the first two weeks. He also had a pair of killer penalties in the second game of the year. Hidden in the struggles of the offense, Hunter has found his footing the past three weeks. In that span, he has allowed only four passing plays to be impacted and given up only one sack.
Even though Hunter is playing better, he has a very tough matchup this week. Cameron Wake is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. Although his team is underperforming, Wake is off to a very good start. He was a handful for Hunter when the Dolphins came to the Meadowlands last season. Wake is explosive off the snap and has a variety of moves. Hunter will be kept guessing against a physically talented competitor. For a tackle who has problems with consistent technique, particularly footwork, that can be a real problem.
Brian Schottenheimer is capable of identifying and protecting a problem spot. The issues are that it tends to take a five alarm emergency to get his attention to correct something, and the correction usually does not come during the game. Adjustments are game to game, not in game. Look at the aforementioned Dolphins-Jets game last year. Even though Hunter clearly could not handle Wake, Schottenheimer neglected helping him. The next week in Pittsburgh, Hunter got help from an extra lineman or tight end on roughly half of New York's passing plays.
Entering this game, Hunter does not look like much of a problem because of his improved play. I worry Schottenheimer will neglect this matchup, which heavily favors Miami. Hunter is going to need ample help from chips on Wake by backs and tight ends to extra players staying in to help him block. I worry Schottenheimer will not do this or adjust if Hunter struggles early, which is quite troublesome since no other matchup has the potential to wreck the game for the Jets quite like this one.