I didn’t want Margus Hunt on this team. With his performance on Sunday, he may have just changed my mind about him entirely.
Margus Hunt has always been the victim of my harsh criticism. On September 3rd the 53-man roster was set. I was upset and fed up with “The Margus Hunt” project. Often I said, “Professional Football is not for him.” On Sunday, September 11, 2016, in a hostile and emotional MetLife Stadium, Margus Hunt made me eat my own words. I was happy to and washed them down with a few beers.
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Never have I ever been happier about being wrong. I get it. It’s the first game of the season. To say that Hunt didn’t make leaps and bounds already is an understatement. He wasn’t a liability. He made an impact. With the Bengals offense stalling, and the Jets attempting a field goal to go up 10-0, Hunt used his 6’8” 277-pound frame to block the attempt and completely swing momentum to the Bengals. In the next 20 minutes of play, Hunt added 2 pass deflections. On top of that, he added a tackle for loss.
Hunt came into this season with 1.5 tackles and 1 pass deflected in almost 30 games over the previous three years. On Sunday, he nearly doubled each of those stats. Hunt joined Dunlap and Johnson as part of the regular rotation. He played inside next to Atkins. He played outside as a contain man and pass rusher. Hunt didn’t miss a special teams play. Each of his snaps was earned and warranted.
This is a sport and league where unsung heroes help championship teams. After this first game, Hunt is proving that he can be one of those unsung heroes. Maybe, just maybe, “The Margus Hunt Project” is ready to pay dividends.