Jets RT Howard up to challenge of starting

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 24, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 17: Austin Howard of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lincoln Financial Field on October 17, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Austin Howard felt more at home with the first unit Friday in his second day as the new starting right tackle for the New York Jets. Howard got the starting nod Thursday, taking over for nine-year veteran Wayne Hunter. ''I'm on a line with three Pro Bowlers, and it can't get any better than that,'' Howard said. ''They're really helping me out. I got the extra time, both on the field and in the film room. I feel like I'm making progress and doing better.'' At 6-foot-7, 333 pounds, Howard is the biggest player on the Jets roster. The 25-year-old Howard was awarded the starting spot after Hunter got beat for three sacks in a 26-3 preseason loss to the Giants last Saturday night. Hunter was part of a line last year that enabled quarterback Mark Sanchez to be sacked 39 times. Howard looked solid in drills ahead of the Jets preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night. He was signed by the Jets off the Baltimore Ravens practice squad last November and saw limited action with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. The Eagles signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa. ''I have to take full advantage of it,'' Howard said. ''When you get a new chance, you always have to have a positive outlook. I have the mindset to show what I can do.'' Jets coach Rex Ryan wouldn't signal out anything Howard did well in practice. ''He just has to do his job,'' Ryan said. ''That's where his focus needs to be. Whether he's the starting right tackle or left guard, it shouldn't matter. Sure, we get more media coverage than most teams, but he has to focus on doing his job and when in doubt, listen to Brandon (Moore).'' The Jets tried to upgrade the right tackle position when they traded for former first-round pick Jeff Otah from Carolina, but Otah failed his physical and was returned to the Panthers. They're committed to Hunter and his $2.3 million guaranteed contract, but made the move for Howard after the rough outing against the Giants. ''One of Coach (Tony) Sparano's favorite sayings is `Do what you know,''' Howard said. ''That's what I'm trying to do. I just want to be an overall good pass blocker, an overall good run blocker and an overall good tackle.'' Hunter took his demotion as motivation. ''It's a blow to the pride, no question,'' said Hunter, who was a valuable backup to Damien Woody before inheriting the starting job after Woody retired before last season. ''You know you're a better player than you're showing. It's just not clicking right now. I'm still waiting for this to all settle in.'' Hunter knew he'd be scrutinized this year. ''Coming into the season, knowing you're the guy, and then it's over that quick,'' Hunter said. ''Sure, there was pressure on me. Right now, I have to settle into my new role as the jumbo tight end. I even took some snaps at left tackle today and had to work on my stance. I hadn't done that in years. ''Mentally, it's very tough to handle. I know they have to put the best 11 on the field and that's not my role right now.'' Other members of the offensive line welcomed Howard and sympathized with Hunter. ''I think it's a tough situation,'' said left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson. ''He's a guy on the team I've played with for years. But it's the time of year where a lot of change occurs. Everyone is fighting for a job. We're still working on ourselves as a team, but we'll be ready when the season comes. We're trying to have success as a unit.'' The Jets have failed to reach the end zone in both preseason games this year. ''This is what training camp is all about, to work out the kinks,'' guard Moore said. ''We're trying to correct them. It's a cause for concern that we haven't scored a touchdown, but it's not time to panic. I have faith we'll turn it around. It's a work in progress right now.'' Ryan was not pleased with his team's effort on either side of the ball. ''I saw things that just weren't right,'' Ryan said. ''We had too many mistakes on both sides of the ball and I'm still concerned about that, even if we're playing a preseason game Sunday. We have to challenge our guys tomorrow to do a better job. If this was a Friday practice in the regular season, I'd be very concerned.'' NOTES: WR Santonio Holmes (ribs and back) saw limited action in practice, but Ryan said that he will play Sunday..The same for WR Jeremy Kerley (hamstring), who returned to full action Friday and Ryan said he will play as well..S Yeremiah Bell tweaked a knee in practice and will not play Sunday, although Ryan said Bell's injury wasn't serious.DE Mike DeVito left practice with a calf injury.A day after CB Darrelle Revis said the Jets ''didn't do enough to help Mark Sanchez,'' he recanted a bit. ''I said we needed more weapons. But I don't make the decisions for this team. We have to stick with the group we have here. If change comes, it comes.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

DeMar DeRozan: It will be ‘pretty tough’ for me to leave Raptors

Super Bowl referee says Cotchery play could have been a catch

The NBA is one step closer to putting ads on jerseys

Archie Manning defends Cam Newton over press conference

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Chris Harris: Von Miller should get paid more than JJ Watt

4 likeliest Dwight Howard trade scenarios

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Penn State the latest to offer generic football jerseys for sale

Gary Bettman praises the NHL’s new website and app (which are currently awful)

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

NBA to weigh adding advertisements to jerseys

ESPN, Stephen A. Smith and Little League International sued by parents of Jackie Robinson West

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker