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New Jets Season, Same Big Mouths

The Jets promised differences, but they are hard to find

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Aug 23, 2012  |  Updated 1:07 PM EDT
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Ryan lost weight this offseason, but everything else remains unchanged.

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We got our first inkling that nothing much has changed around the Jets when Santonio Holmes shared his opinion on the team's two-headed (no-armed?) quarterbacking situation.

Holmes doesn't think two quarterback systems can work in the NFL, which isn't a particularly controversial viewpoint in a league where no one outside of the Jets hierarchy seems to think the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow combination can possibly end well. The problem isn't what Holmes said, though, the problem is that he said it to reporters.

The idea that the Jets could stamp out dysfunction in one fell swoop was always a naive one because the roots of the problem are still in the ground. The idea that they could perhaps keep a curtain drawn on their dysfunction and not air every thought that runs through their head to the media, though? That's a pretty easy expectation to meet.

There's nothing more tired and overplayed in New York than comparing the Jets' style to that of the Giants, but it begs to be dragged out of the barn in this instance. Every member of the Giants from John Mara down was asked about Jerry Jones saying that the Cowboys would whip their behinds this season and not a single member of the team took the bait even though you know that a team as sensitive as the Giants (see Brandon Jacobs vs. Ryan on Christmas Eve) had thoughts about Jones' comments.

The Jets just can't help themselves, though. We got another example of that this week when cornerback Antonio Cromartie decided to tell the world that he was the second-best wide receiver on the Jets after a few days practicing the position in hopes of becoming a dual threat this season.

Cromartie was stupid to say it, but receiver Chaz Schilens was just as stupid for taking the bait when reporters asked him for a response and giving them an aggrieved statement that kept the carousel going. Schilens tried to defuse everything on Thursday, but the damage has been done and the point -- just say that it is a matter to be handled within the team -- was totally missed.

Somewhere in the mess, Ryan chimed in and said he was going to be more hands on to stop stuff like this from happening, the umpteenth time he's said those words this off season while business as usual continues with the Jets. Ryan can't expect anything else from his players when he can't control himself, though.

Defensive end Quinton Coples, the team's first-round pick, was anointed a starter by Ryan on draft day and now he's working only in pass rushing situations. That's not a problem, it might even be a good thing for the mediocre pass rush, but it again sends the message that there's nothing even close to an organizational philosophy outside of letting Ryan say anything that comes to mind. 

There's no reason for it. The Jets don't need to live every minute of their lives on the pages of tabloids or on sports radio airwaves, something that should be obvious when looking at the way the rest of the league conducts itself.

It didn't have to be this way. The Jets could have been more honest about their talent level after last season instead of taking the bait about their bravado leading to a disappointing season.

They didn't do that, though, and they promised to do things a different way. They have yet to keep that promise.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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