It is never a good thing when your teams best player goes on national television and makes light of locker room troubles. Yet that is exactly what New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis did on ESPN yesterday. When asked to play a word association game on “Sportscenter” Revis was given the word “locker room” and Revis replied, “Disarray right now.” Revis also expressed concern with the media attention surrounding Tim Tebow and how it will affect incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez. Revis said, “It was a circus, and it’s going to be even more of a circus with him in the locker room. I’m not questioning his ability to play the game. He can flat out play the game, but it’s just going to bring more to the locker room of every day: ‘Does Mark need to start? Does Tim need to start?’ It’s going to just be an ongoing thing throughout the whole season.”
Revis makes a valid point. Do the Jets, and specifically Mark Sanchez, need the added attention that Tim Tebow is going to bring with him? There hasn’t been a more polarizing figure in football than Tim Tebow in years, if ever. He brings with him proponents and opponents. Now, those forces will collide in the Jets locker room, a locker room that seemed to be a divided place towards the end of last year. When pressed to elaborate on his locker room comments, Revis told ESPN that, “It was bad. Toward the end of the season, there was some arguing and things going on in the locker room. Looking back at it, I think when you’re losing and you’re in that slump, we’re trying to find a way to get out of the slump and guys want to just win. When you don’t, guys start pointing fingers.” The signs were there earlier in the year when Derrick Mason openly griped about Rex Ryan and his role in the offense. Mason would be traded by the Jets to the Houston Texans shortly after but the problems only seemed to multiply.
Revis didn’t stop there. He went on to say that he didn’t think the Jets gave Mark Sanchez enough support last year. “I think we didn’t have enough support for Mark this past year and we need to,” Revis said. “When you look at great teams, they stick with their quarterback no matter what. This is a game that guys make mistakes. We all do. I’ve had touchdowns scored on me. Peyton Manning has thrown interceptions. You can go down the line. I think overall we just need to take care of Mark a little bit more and appreciate him and be a support system for him.” Revis’ comments aren’t exactly saying anything new but they do come after Rex Ryan publicly stated that the Jets locker room problems were a thing of the past.
The Jets have stated publicly that Mark Sanchez is their quarterback. Their actions this offseason have not backed that up, even after the contract extension Sanchez signed and they have been met with mixed emotions from fans and players alike. When the Jets start their offseason program on April 16th the media will be there searching for anyone who even sighs loudly, searching for any sign that the Jets are a divided team. Every time Sanchez fumbles a snap, throws an interception, or misses a receiver the media will be asking about Tim Tebow. The Jets will need to rally themselves, come to a common understanding and just go out and play football. One thing that will cure everything is going out and winning, regardless of who is on the field. It will be imperative for the Jets to jump off to a fast start and put last season and this offseason behind them. It will start with men like Revis rallying the players around the goal of winning a Super Bowl, drowning out the distractions, and not creating anymore with locker room divisions. How it will end will be up to the players.