There’s a cancer in the Jets’ locker room. And as a season of failed expectations and disappointment culminated with a collapse in Miami, it’s never been more evident.
The Jets are showing their true colors.
Santonio Holmes was benched in the final minutes of Sunday’s game after quitting on his team. Bart Scott flipped off a member of the press; obviously he was not taking questions that day. Holmes, a team captain, and Scott, who is supposed to be the leader of the defense, exemplified just the leadership that you would expect from a team in disarray.
So when Greg McElroy told 97.3 The Zone in Birmingham that the Jets’ locker room was corrupt, that it was the first time that he’d been around “extremely selfish individuals” who didn’t care whether they won or lost games, can you really blame him?
McElroy didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. He didn’t say anything that wasn’t obvious to the average fan. But he was the first one to come out and speak the truth, and no, he should not be blasted for that.
Sure, McElroy is the third-stringer behind a starter who “needs to grow a pair” and backup who qualifies for AARP benefits, but he’s not an idiot. In fact, he may be the smartest player in the National Football League (and that includes you, Ryan Fitzpatrick).
By calling out his teammates, by taking a leap and putting their problems in the public’s eye, McElroy is giving the Jets a reason to change.
And it starts at the top.
Rex Ryan sets the tone for his locker room with his trash talk, crude behavior and his Super Bowl guarantees. Scott didn’t think flipping the bird to a cameraman was wrong because his coach did the same thing to a fan just a few weeks back.
It’s time to shut up. Being outspoken is one thing; being ignorant is another.
When a head coach lets things fly, it sets a precedent for the players to act as they want to. If Ryan wants to be bold, make guarantees that he can’t fulfill, he needs a Lombardi Trophy on his mantle. Until then, enact some discipline, show some respect and act like an NFL head coach.
Ryan’s tag-team partner, General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, deserves just as much blame. Like the coach, the players are bad seeds. Holmes was exiled from Pittsburgh, one of the few model franchises in the league. He went from Super Bowl hero to the equivalent of a fifth-round draft pick. If a team like the Steelers lost patience with him, what makes you think he’d change his attitude with a clown like Ryan running the circus?
Tannenbaum also replaced a handful of veterans with poor-character players. Gone were the Tony Richardsons, the Jericho Cotcherys, the Damien Woodys. And then the team belonged to Holmes and Scott, and look where it got them.
It caught us all by surprise when McElroy made those comments, that he was the Jet who had to take a stand. After all, he hasn’t thrown a single pass in the NFL yet, and maybe that’s why his comments weren’t taken well among the Twittersphere.
But did you expect Mark Sanchez to call out Holmes for being a diva? Would you count on Ryan to admit the players in his locker room are about as accountable as, well, a 10-year-old.
If McElroy didn’t say what needed to be said, who would have?