Sitting at 8-5 with their playoff fate in their hands, the Jets lost three straight games and missed the playoffs. However, that was only the beginning of their problems.
Reports soon came out that the Jets locker room was in total disarray, peaking when anonymous members of the Jets called out quarterback Mark Sanchez, stating that the signal-caller was lazy, and there was a push in the organization to bring in Peyton Manning before he was released by the Colts.
Now Sanchez has fired back, saying that the anonymous players were “gutless” for not taking accountability for their statements.
This is not something that Jets fans want to hear.
Sanchez is still irked by the comments made about him after the Jets’ flameout last season, and it’s understandable that he wants to defend his pride, but taking such a hard stance on the matter will not help his team going forward.
Instead, it continues the question as to whether Sanchez can be the leader that the Jets need him to be.
Since being drafted fifth overall in 2009, the “Sanchize” has had a rocky road in the Big Apple, despite his team’s success.
Sanchez has been criticized for poor body language and for not taking the steps necessary to become the face of the organization. Of course, those complaints were hidden by success. Two straight trips to the AFC championship game will hide any warts.
The Jets have been waiting for Sanchez to take that next step to become an upper-echelon quarterback, but it simply has not happened yet.
After two subpar years, Sanchez looked to breakout in his third season. The Jets QB had a brutal season despite establishing a career high in yards and touchdown passes. His 26 turnovers were the second most for any player in the NFL, and he continued to display difficulty in making throws downfield and to wide receivers.
With the Jets missing the playoffs, those warts came to the forefront. Santonio Holmes was seen fuming on the sidelines of the final game of the season, as he was benched during a loss to the Miami Dolphins.
Then it was discovered that Sanchez and Holmes weren’t necessarily on the best terms, and the questions started to mount.
LaDainian Tomlinson called the locker room problems the worst that he had ever seen. Greg McElroy, one of the backup QB’s for New York, said that some of the players were playing selfishly. All of the good times that came with two AFC title game appearances were washing away.
The whispers started to surround the Jets. Is Mark Sanchez the guy? Is he lazy? Is he entitled? Can he lead a team that desperately needs a leader?
For the first time in his career, Sanchez’s job was in jeopardy.
However, the Jets front office has faith in Sanchez, rewarding him with a three-year extension. Peyton Manning will not be suiting up for the Green this September. It’s all on Sanchez to turn it around.
The only way for that to happen is for Sanchez to put all of the turmoil behind him and get back to work. Calling his teammates “gutless” only hurts his cause. Sanchez needs to work toward earning the respect of his teammates, not whining to the media about it.
Sanchez needs to be the bigger man and be a leader on the field and in the locker room. If he cannot do that, Sanchez and the Jets will never see that Super Bowl title that Rex Ryan has been proclaiming for the last three years.
There are no more scapegoats for Sanchez to hide behind. Brian Schottenheimer, the much maligned offensive coordinator for the Jets, is no longer with the team, and Ryan isn’t going anywhere.
Sanchez has to step up and perform like the player who was picked fifth in the draft. The Jets need Sanchez to start pulling his weight on and off the field, or else it will continue to be gloomy for the other team in New York.