Jets Still Grounded in Dysfunction Junction - NBC New York

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Jets Still Grounded in Dysfunction Junction

Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez have a relationship fit for Dr. Phil.



    Jets Still Grounded in Dysfunction Junction
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    You don't send me flowers anymore.

    There isn't much you can credit the Jets with achieving this season, but give them credit for finding a way to remain in the headlines even while the Giants are on the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

    Those headlines might not be positive and they might make you wish everyone associated with the Jets was struck with a case of spontaneous paralysis of the vocal cords, but they say there's no such thing as bad publicity. That old adage is certainly getting a test from Gang Green.

    It has been three weeks since the Jets' season ended in embarrassing fashion against the Dolphins and members of the team are still finding outlets to share their thoughts about everything that sent this team home before the playoffs got underway. LaDainian Tomlinson is the latest to speak up and the running back confirmed a few things we already knew.

    He confirmed that there's no chance he'll be back with the Jets next season. He didn't do that explicitly, but backup running backs with rapidly declining skills rarely unload on a prospective employer with both barrels in hopes of gaining employment in the future.

    Tomlinson also confirmed that the Santonio Holmes-Mark Sanchez feud was very real and ugly enough to inspire snickering about an "East Coast-West Coast" feud. We all know how the rap version of that feud ended and Tomlinson didn't make it sound like this one was too far off from that.   

    While he disputed the notion that Sanchez is lazy, Tomlinson went on to confirm that Jets players feel like Rex Ryan's style is making it harder for them to do their jobs. While he said he loved playing for Rex, he also had issues with the coach's habit of running off at the mouth and thinks that other teams play harder as a result of Ryan's proclamations.

    None of this is new. And all by itself, none of it is something that having better safeties, offensive line play and a pass rush couldn't fix.

    What is troubling about Tomlinson's comments on "Inside the NFL" is that he expressed some doubt about whether or not they could be fixed.

    It has always been hard to know whether dysfunction on a team is a cause or result of a team's losing.

    Tomlinson, who saw more than his share of ugly situations in San Diego, called the Jets locker room "as bad as I've seen, honestly" and said that the team might need to make changes in order to get back on track.

    Barring a serious change in organizational direction, Sanchez isn't going anywhere so that means it would have to be Holmes that leaves the team.

    Cutting him holds serious cap implications and trading him would bring back a negative return on investment, although it is worth noting that the Steelers did that and wound up just fine because they picked up Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown in the draft.

    Finding someone to give up anything for a player owed as much as Holmes with his baggage won't be easy, but, based on everything we've heard, there would appear to be a better shot of that than there is of Holmes stepping up and burying the hatchet with Sanchez.

    Such a move would leave the Jets with no talent at receiver, something that would need to be remedied at great cost at a time when the team has plenty of holes to fill if they are going to compete on the field. But filling those holes while merely hoping that the center holds might be even more damaging when the evidence keeps mounting about how little chance there is that doing the same thing all over again will work out to everyone's benefit.

    It's not like there's no precedent for this. Terrell Owens was as good a receiver as there was in football, but he played himself off of two teams because he made life so difficult on the rest of the team that they felt they would be more successful without him.

    Holmes isn't doing sit-ups in his driveway, although nothing would really be a surprise at this point with the Jets. If they don't start dealing with the problem now, the headlines aren't going to get any better next season and it will be all anyone can talk about when the team gets back to work this summer.

    The Jets can't have that. There's big work to be done and this obstacle has to be removed, one way or the other, before it can begin.

    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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