Jets bench Hunter; Howard to start at RT

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Struggling right tackle Wayne Hunter has been benched by the New York Jets, and Austin Howard promoted to the starting job for the team's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.

Coach Rex Ryan says Thursday that Hunter will serve as the blocking tight end -- as he did in previous years before becoming the starting right tackle last season. Hunter will also be the "sixth man" on the offensive line. Ryan says he told Hunter of the decision Thursday morning.

Howard was signed off Baltimore's practice squad last November, and previously played in four games for Philadelphia in 2010 after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa.

Ryan says he's "thinking we're OK" when asked if the team's in the market for a starting right tackle.