Jets make The Bickersons look normal

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:09 AM ET

The New York Jets seem to be the football equivalent to television’s Desperate Housewives.

There’s more squabbling and bitch-slapping happening here than a kitchen with three cooks and one pot to mix in. The Jets have imploded with in-fighting, finger-pointing and teammates calling each other out, including one unnamed Jets’ player who called Mark Sanchez a “lazy” quarterback.

Sanchez, to his credit, declined to answer that charge. Or, then again, maybe he was just too lazy. Your choice.

The Jets have attitude. They have belligerence. They have Pro Bowlers. What they don’t have is a playoff spot. And, head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have only themselves to blame for the whole mess. So says running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

The dissension and trash-talking between teammates got so bad Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes couldn’t co-exist in the same huddle. That bellicose culture of confrontation was fostered by Ryan and Tannenbaum and, says Tomlinson, it proved to be the club’s undoing.

“The (Jets organization) created this. This is the type of football team that they wanted,” Tomlinson said. “Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan are both brash, in-your-face type of style, say whatever you want, just get it done on the field. 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 said there were currents of dissension within the locker room all season but it really started to fracture when they lost their final three games to miss the playoffs.

Tomlinson said the rift between Sanchez and Holmes, a team captain, is “as bad as I’ve been around. And I’ve been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not.”

Holmes was benched for the club’s final offensive series after getting into an argument in the huddle with teammates.

”You know it was at the point where I think the players could no longer do anything about it ... 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.”

Tomlinson spent two seasons in New York, but his role in the offence this season was reduced and it’s expected he might retire. There is little likelihood he would come back to the Jets.

Tomlinson disagreed with published reports that Sanchez is lazy but rather that he is “a bit pampered because he has no competition. He has no real threat to say this guy may take my job.”

While he said playing for Ryan was a hoot, Ryan’s constant boasting hurt the team. “I don’t mind every now and again saying we are going to win a championship. Maybe at the beginning of the year ... 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,” Tomlinson said.

“Guys really want to go out there and say, ‘Let’s shut this guy up. Let’s shut these Jets up.’”

So the downside to all this is that Ryan’s Jets once again don’t win the Super Bowl. On the upside, they should be in the running for an Emmy as Best Reality TV show.

QUICK HITS

Increasing numbers of college players are entering the draft after their junior seasons. The NFL announced Thursday that 65 players have been granted eligibility compared to 56 last year and 46 in 2009 ... Marty Mornhinweg, who last led the Lions into oblivion nine years ago, may get another shot at a head coaching job. Oddsmakers have him a 5-to-1 favourite to replace Jim Caldwell in Indy with 49ers’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and former Vikings’ head coach Brad Childress also under consideration ... Steelers’ quarterback coach Kirby Wilson remains in critical condition after suffering burns to over 45% of his body in a house fire. He will require multiple operations ... Former receiver Troy Brown and corner Ty Law will be honourary captains for the Pats on Sunday.


Videos

Photos