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The Jets Fly the Plane Into the Mountain

Everyone saw this coming, except for Rex Ryan and the Jets

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Nov 15, 2012  |  Updated 8:50 AM EDT
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New York Jets 2012-13 Season in Photos

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Wednesday was both an unbelievable and totally predictable day in Jets history. 

It started with a Daily News article quoting unnamed Jets defenders and guard Matt Slauson expressing the opinion that Tim Tebow was a terrible quarterback who wouldn't win them any football games if he came into the lineup for Mark Sanchez.

It's a shame that Tebow can't play against the Jets, who he beat last year on his way to the playoffs despite being too "terrible" to play for the 3-6 Jets.

Rex Ryan responded by calling the anonymous Jets cowards and claiming that the whole attempt by "outside forces" to tear the team apart would wind up galvanizing them. Because that's exactly what happened last season when Sanchez was the target of broadsides from his teammates.

Wait, no, that's not what happened. The team started pointing fingers, losing games and spinning out of the playoffs.  

Perhaps the difference is that those Jets didn't really bother with anonymity. In Ryan's world, there's no problem with crapping on your teammate as long as you sign your name but this kind of nameless sniping will bring everyone (except the nameless snipers, it would seem) together into a harmonious whole. 

There's also no problem with fiddling while the team burns, apparently, because Ryan continues to act incredulous about things that everyone else in the world saw coming a million miles away. This has been coming since the day the Jets traded for Tebow and refused to treat him like the backup quarterback they claimed he was, but the Jets have simply fed the beast and fed the beast because they are apparently incapable of conducting themselves in any other way. 

Tebow admitted to some frustration and sadness at hearing his teammates rip him to shreds while also saying he'd try to use it as motivation because it's hard to sell yourself as the one true hero to a certain portion of America if you don't pretend to be above it all. Sanchez was similarly dismayed, although you imagine that he was also reveling a little bit in the closest thing he'll get to overwhelming support for remaining the team's starting quarterback. 

The whole thing is completely crazy, up to and including Tebow becoming a sympathetic figure for choosing to come to the Jets instead of the Jaguars for reasons related to his desire to boost his own brand as much or more than football reasons. Despite that, he's been a relatively good soldier in terms of doing what he's asked without making a fuss and his presence is a problem only because of what it says about how the team makes decisions. 

Tebow gets sympathy because he's not the one responsible for making this mess. The culprits would be Ryan, Tony Sparano, Mike Tannenbaum and, as becomes clearer every day, Woody Johnson for trading for Tebow and making all kinds of fake statements about his role while downplaying the chances of things devolving exactly the way they have devolved. 

Of course, this is also a brain trust that insisted they were all over the locker room problems that devoured the team last season and clearly hasn't done a thing other than spin when people feel perfectly comfortable destroying their teammates in the press. We'd say that such a turn of events is bad news for Ryan's future with the team, except Johnson seems to have his heart set on running his football team the opposite of the way that people who want to win run their football teams. 

From the very start, the response to any question about Tebow to any member of the organization should have been "You'll find out on Sunday" because everything else the Jets have done has fed the beast that vomited all over them on Wednesday. They wanted to have things both ways and wound up with nothing but a terrible record and bleak future to show for it as they refuse to change anything in hopes of winning more games. 

That's why Shonn Greene, speaking to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, gets the last word. He should be teaching seminars in the locker room about making sense. 

"Something’s got to change. When you get to the point where you’re 3-6, and losing and losing, a couple of guys are like, ‘Oh, what would happen? But guys at the same time have faith in Mark, so it’s kind of an up-and-down thing," Greene said. "You feel bad for Mark, but at the same time you want to win games.  We’re not here to protect people’s feelings.  If you want to win games, you’ve got to try something.  If somebody’s not getting the job done, you see if somebody else can do it.  It’s the same with coaching, or any position.  You don’t mean to belittle someone or say ‘he sucks.’ That’s just the harsh reality."

Greene is included in the list of players not getting their job done, so he knows of what he speaks. The Jets keep trying the same thing with Sanchez, Ryan, Tannenbaum, Greene and everyone else while getting the same results. 

Greene's exactly right about something needing to change. Given the history of the guy at the top of the organization, though, you shouldn't be holding your breath. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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