Following the lead of head coach Rex Ryan, no team that missed the playoffs has made as much postseason noise as the New York Jets, with coaching changes and players calling each other out in the media. Now All Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson has jumped into the fray, and has said that it all starts with head coach Rex Ryan.
In the couple of weeks since their season ended, “unnamed” members of the Jets took shots at quarterback Mark Sanchez, and he was defended by several members of the team including Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold.
“They (the organization) created this,” Tomlinson said. “This is the type of football team that they wanted. Mike Tannenbaum (and) 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 (like) guys are calling each other out and saying I’m not getting the ball or whatever it may be.”
“I would prefer him not to say it as much as he did,” LT added. “I don’t mind every now and again saying we are going to win a championship. 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.’ I think that adds to that when Rex speaks up like that because, you know, everybody doesn’t like that type of style, and they’re not supposed to. But at the same time there are certain things that you can do to not have it come off like that.”
Tomlinson disagreed that Sanchez was lazy, but did say that he was “a bit pampered because he has no competition.” Tomlinson said, “[Sanchez] has no real threat to say this guy may take my job.”
LT also weighed in on the strained relationship between Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, saying, “It is as bad as I’ve ever been around, honestly.”
“You know it was at the point where I think the players could no longer do anything about it. There was nothing that the players could do. So 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.”
He also called out the coaching staff on its play selection. While Ryan frequently talked about having a “Ground and Pound” offensive strategy, the Jets increasing threw the ball and put more emphasis on Sanchez and the passing game to win games.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Tomlinson said. “ So a team that was coming off two straight AFC Championship games relied heavily on the run. My opinion now, why would you just totally switch up your identity at that point?”
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