Florham Park, N.J.- Remember when Greg McElroy’s comments about the “corruption” within the Jets locker room hijacked the attention of everyone around the sport of football? How dare he? Some people thought for some odd reason. A third-string rookie quarterback who spent the entire season on IR can’t possibly have the nerve to speak out on what he saw, can he? Oh the horror, the audacity. Amazingly enough there were actually people claiming McElroy wouldn’t be welcomed back by the team because of his harmless statements. Now after “unnamed players,” questioned Mark Sanchez’s work ethic, Woody Johnson gave his support of both Sanchez and Santonio Holmes and LaDainian Tomlinson joked that the tension between Sanchez and Holmes could be compared to the tension between rappers Tupac and Biggie during the famous, “East Coast, West Coast feud,” does anyone care or even remember just what it was McElroy said?
Tomlinson has started making the rounds of television appearances to see if that is an area he would like to go into if he does in fact decide to retire and he wasted no time dishing on his old team, just like every other player who tries to make the transition from player to media. Tomlinson talked about the rift between the quarterback and his receiver, but he also talked about the culture that GM Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan have created in Florham Park and strongly implied that they brought this disaster on themselves.
“The (Jets organization) created this. This is the type of football team they wanted. Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan are both brash, in-your-face type style, say whatever you want, just get it done on the field.” Tomlinson said, “And then it leads to other things, as guys are calling each other out and saying I’m not getting the ball or whatever it may be.”
Tomlinson also admitted that Ryan’s bravado and constant boasting can become tiresome, something Ryan and the front office is not likely to appreciate but more importantly signifies Tomlinson has already likely decided he won’t be a Jet in 2012.
“I don’t mind every now and again saying we are going to win a championship.” Tomlinson said, “Maybe at the beginning of the year just saying, ‘Hey, our goal is to win a championship.’ But at the same time every week if you are calling out a team on certain things, I think it puts a little extra on your team. Guys really want to go out there and say, ‘Let’s shut this guy up. Let’s shut these Jets up, just end their season.'”
Tomlinson makes some valid points, we’ve all seen that team’s bring a little extra intensity when they play the Jets, but it’s safe to say Ryan would say good. Ryan wants those teams bringing it all to try and take down the Jets and he wants his team to be strong enough, both physically and mentally, to take anyone’s best shot and emerge victorious.
Yesterday owner Woody Johnson spoke to the media about the disastrous results to the season and where they will go from here. Johnson gave the typical vague quote on what the team plans on doing next, which of course as we should all know by now means to take everything he has said and will say with a grain of salt.
“I’m not going to ever tell you guys what we may or may not do. My job is to – for the fans, – take this team to the very top level.” Johnson said, “I’ve said that from the beginning. I have a lot of confidence that we can do it. So we’re going to look at everything. We’re going to look at every possibility.”
Yes, “look at every possibility,” means they will look into signing Peyton Manning just like they look into every possibility, but the logistics are too complicated for that to actually happen, so don’t get your hopes up Jets fans hoping for a change. Sanchez will be the Jets quarterback in 2012, but all this talk about a lack of a capable backup that could push Sanchez has made it clear that the Jets will in fact address that problem this offseason.
“I have a lot of confidence in Mark Sanchez. Despite some of the reports, he’s a very hard worker.” Johnson said, “He can do everything that you want a quarterback to do. When he has the confidence, which I think he’ll have this year… he’s had a lot of success in his life. This is probably one of the first years where he’s experienced the New York way. My feeling is that Mark is the kind of guy that will learn from this. We’re going to try to make the offense a little more suitable for what Mark’s development is.”
And that last sentence from the above quote takes us right back to the root of this problem. Johnson said he thought Tomlinson was making the problem in the locker room seem like a bigger deal than it was and Johnson is right because all of this tension may very well have already disappeared when Brian Schottenheimer cleared out his office. All of this tension started with the receivers not being happy with the offensive coordinator, not the quarterback, and the way the offense was being run. One of those receivers got shipped off to Houston, but the other two remained only to see nothing change.
Enter a new offensive coordinator in Tony Sparano, who will build a offense around the talent his has to work with, and you’ll be amazed at how the problems vanish into thin air. Holmes’ will have his work cut out for him, mostly he will have to prove to his teammates that he is all in on this fight to become champions with them. Once he proves himself there, which he is more than capable of, Sanchez will welcome him back with open arms and this team can become whole again.
For now the season is over and done with, so the talking in public about where they went wrong should be too. Enough of the blame game and finger pointing, it’s time to start rebuilding this team and this family. With that success will follow once again.
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