Wayne Hunter knows he has to be smarter, especially when his mistake can be as costly as it was last night in the Jets' 17-3 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Hunter was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty for going after Giants linebacker Jonathan Goff following a 3-yard run by Shonn Greene on a second down during the Jets' initial drive of the second half. The right tackle's 15-yard penalty stifled a promising drive, one that ended two plays later because the Jets got backed up into a third-and-17 at midfield.
"No excuse," Hunter said when I asked him about the play.
He said he was just trying to have Brandon Moore's back.
"I saw Meat getting into it and my first reaction was to protect my right guard, really," Hunter said. "I’ve just got to pick my battles. It would have been third-and-2. It was just a stupid mistake."
Things seemed to be a bit feisty between the two teams, though Hunter wasn't about to use that a true reason for his dustup with Goff. Left guard Matt Slauson also got into it with a Giants player moments after the flag had been tossed on Hunter.
So, were things really that chippy out there?
"It was. It really was," Hunter said. "I guess you can credit that to being the Giants and Jets, seeing which New York team comes out on top. So, it’s always chippy. Every year, I think it gets a little chippier."
There wasn't much chippy play between Hunter and Justin Tuck. The Giants defensive end manuevered around Hunter on a few plays, getting into the backfield quickly. However, he didn't record any sacks or quarterback hits, a small victory for Hunter if there ever was one, given he's going to be relied on heavily to make a seamless transition from veteran Damien Woody, who retired.
"Facing guys like Tuck, I love facing him because he makes me better," Hunter said. "For the most poart, I think I did a pretty well against him. He got off on a couple of run blocks and made the tackle. But I think pass protection was pretty good and got me ready for Dallas coming up with DeMarcus [Ware]."