Lost in the brutal year Wayne Hunter had on the other side was the subpar year D'Brickashaw Ferguson had, his least effective season by far since 2007. Yes, he made the Pro Bowl, but that was based on reputation like so many others. According to Pro Football Focus, Brick missed 15 blocks that led to either a sack or a quarterback hit. That is in the top ten among tackles. Brick's run blocking also fell off. A year after they averaged 4.8 yards per run to the left side, the Jets averaged under 4 in 2011. Ferguson did not seem to get the same push.
I have heard some very logical explanations for Ferguson's relative struggles. One was the level of competition. DeMarcus Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Trent Cole were among the pass rushers Ferguson faced. Compounding the problem was Wayne Hunter on the right side. With Hunter struggling so much, the Jets had to send most of their help his way, leaving Brick alone frequently for these difficult matchups. There is a lot of truth to that, but it is still a problem. The Jets gave Ferguson a huge contract in 2010 for a reason. He is supposed to be able to handle difficult assignments on his own. Few get the kind of money he got because few are capable of doing the job.
For the time being, I am willing to write off his bad year as part of a chain reaction to Hunter's play. One weak link on the offensive line affects everybody else. A bad right tackle means the guard has to give extra help, which means the center has to do more and so on. Ferguson has a fantastic track record. Entering the year, one could have made a compelling argument he was only behind Joe Thomas and Jake Long at his position and barely so. He is also in his prime at age 28 and early in a new big contract. Despite the struggles, this is easy. Brick will stay.