ANONYMOUS SOURCE: The 54th Man
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets saw just how effective Seattle’s twelfth man was in their 28-7 loss on Sunday. Wednesday, once again, we saw the Jets’ mysterious 54th man –an anonymous source — rear his ugly head. His effectiveness can only be truly measured over time, however the immediate impact is damaging nonetheless.
One starter defensive starter told the New York Daily News that Tebow is “terrible,” and another, when asked about switching to a Tebow-run wildcat offense, said, “We can’t win running that s—.”
Rex Ryan, after dealing with a similar locker room mutiny due to an anonymous source last season, had difficulty hiding his distaste for what is being called a “cowardly” act.
“I absolutely addressed it because I think it’s a cowardly thing. If you’re not going to put your name to it, I think that’s about as cowardly of a thing as there is. I even mentioned that. I don’t want to get into the specifics of what I said, but I did address it with our football team,” he said Wednesday.
Since coming to the Jets, Ryan has never put a muzzle on players when it came to the media; allowing them to speak their minds — an ideology that should nip this very type of predicament in the bud. So while Ryan was noticeably peeved at the 54th man, he was forgiving to left guard Matt Slauson, who spoke on the record — even if it were statements made “months” ago.
“I said from the day one when I took the job we’re not always going to be lined up exactly as is, but we’re actually going to tell you what we believe. I have no problem with Matt Slauson because he put his name on it. I don’t agree with everything Matt said. I agree with the fact we have a starting quarterback. We’re confident, and obviously Matt is confident in Mark Sanchez,” he said.
Having been in a similar last season, Sanchez offered a bit of his own advise to the polarizing back-up quarterback.He reiterated his message from last year that not putting your name on a quote like that is “cowardly” and “not professional”. In other words, “it’s just not cool”.
“I feel for Tim, that sucks, it just sucks. I know, it can’t feel good. But at the same time, I’ve been there. You just wake up the next day and keep playing and stay positive and smile and have fun and know you’re playing a game and have a good time with it. Just focus on the positive stuff and try to stay above it,” Sanchez said.
As the team addressed the issue, it’s clear a conscious effort is being made to move on and regain focus on football. The pink elephant, however, is still in the circus tent. After a kumbaya-like off-season filled with new beginnings in Cortland, another season of Jets West and trust seminars there is still a lack of respect for the fellow men in the locker room.
The 54th man is leading the circus show, however to call whomever the anonymous source is a leader is incorrect because no one follows a man without a name.