Just when things started to quiet down in Jets nation running back LaDainian Tomlinson shared his thoughts on the Mark Sanchez/Santonio Holmes relationship. LT, a very respected player in the Jets locker room, offered up the following comments in his Showtime “Inside the NFL” interview:
On the locker room issues: “It is as bad as I’ve ever been around, honestly. And I’ve been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not. But it was as bad as I’ve been around.”
On if Sanchez and Holmes can co-exist on the same team: “Whew, that is a tough one. I would really have to sit down with them and see if they can co-exist, honestly. I mean that is a decision that I really have to make. And if I really feel like they can’t, then you have to make a move.”
How can the Jets handle the situation: “When it gets to that point, there are certain changes that need to happen. Can it be fixed? I think absolutely it can be, but they’re going to have to make some tough decisions.”
These comments by Tomlinson are disturbing and not only reflect poorly on Sanchez and Holmes, but on head coach Rex Ryan as well. In the NFL the “inmates cannot run the asylum” and clearly on the Jets that is the case. Coach Ryan appears to have had no clue about what was going on in his locker room and that clearly had a direct impact on the 2011 season. It is one thing to be a player’s coach, it is another to be lost in space when it comes to having the pulse of your team.
Going forward the #1 question for Rex Ryan is if he has the ability to regain control of his locker room. The quarterback has to be a respected leader on the team, plain and simple. If the quarterback does not command respect he is going to have a hell of a time rallying the troops when the times are tough (like the current situation). Secondly, Rex Ryan needs to figure out how to effectively handle Santonio Holmes and other players that don’t seem to be buying into the team program. Chemistry and team unity plays a huge part in terms of team success in the NFL and right now the New York Jets are coming up very short in both of those areas.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum along with Rex Ryan made educated decisions to bring in some “risky” players to upgrade the talent base on the team. That plan is beginning to backfire and now it is up to both of these gentlemen to address the situation before it costs them their jobs. This situation has reached the embarrassing level and may even get worse before it gets better.
I can honestly say that I am starting to become a bit concerned about Rex Ryan’s ability to lead the New York Jets. Ryan should not have to hire enforcers to clean up his locker room. Rex should take a hands on, authoritative approach to clean up a mess that he allowed to happen.