Slauson: Vlad deserves a shot

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Matt Slauson wasn't happy at first when he was told on the first day of camp he'd be competing with Vlad Ducasse for his spot at left guard. But soon, the two-year starter took the attitude of a veteran.

"When it first happened I was a little taken aback," Slauson said. "But after a second I was like, 'OK, that's kind of how it goes.' Vlad has been there all spring. He deserves a shot."

SlausonSlausonThe Jets' offensive line has been a work in progress. With tackle Jeff Otah failing his physical, thus voiding a trade from the Panthers, Austin Howard got reps with the first team at right tackle in the two-minute portion of practice while Wayne Hunter dealt with a back issue. Another lineman could be brought in to compete for the spot, which Hunter held last year.

"There's a lot of moving pieces in the offensive line; a lot of different guys have to be ready to play," Slauson said. "I'm not getting moved as much now the last couple days. I've just been at my spot, which has been great. But guys have to be ready to play in different spots."

Slauson is the favorite in his position battle. Ducasse, now in his third season, was initially the player Slauson beat out to initially win the starting spot.

The Jets lacked depth, after backup Rob Turner (now with the Rams) was injured early and Nick Mangold sustained a nagging high ankle sprain. Hunter got a lot of heat for his performance, but has taken reponsibility for it and vowed to play better this year.

Slauson said the players on the line have rallied around Hunter, whether Otah passed the physical or not.

"Wayne was our guy either way," Slauson said. "We have 100 percent confidence in that. Wayne is improving every single day. He is turning into an amazing player."