The recent quotes from an anonymous New York Jet saying that Geno Smith “can do more” than Mark Sanchez may seem like an innocent enough opinion, and it may actually be a factual one. However, these are the type of quotes that are the cause of the dysfunction in the Jets’ locker room the last two seasons, and this quote is continued evidence that Rex Ryan does not have control of his locker room.
Quarterback battles are infamous for tearing locker rooms apart, as teammates pick sides over who should be the starter at the most important position on the field. Obviously, every player in the locker will have an opinion on who should start, and that is not a problem. What is a problem, however, is voicing that opinion to the media.
Sanchez is likely to have fragile confidence following the beating he has taken on the field and in the media, and this is not helping. There is a very good chance Sanchez is the starting quarterback for this team in the early part of the season, and he needs to know that he has the support of the locker room. Veterans coming out and saying they support Smith prior to Smith actually being named the starter only further damages Sanchez’s psyche.
Last season, there were anonymous quotes in the media every week, ripping various players, coaches and front office staff. These type of divisive quotes make it impossible for a team to gel and function well together. The Jets do not have much talent, so they need to be a cohesive unit in order to be successful.
The responsibility for reigning in this childish and cowardly behavior falls directly on Ryan. He has to get control of the locker room and get the players to understand the importance of keeping team unity. If and when Smith is named the starter, players should publicly support their young quarterback. Until that time however, the rest of the team needs to keep all of their comments on the quarterback competition diplomatic.
The Jets are facing enough problems already this season. They don’t need to have more backstabbing and sniping through anonymous quotes in the media ripping this team apart. Ryan has to get this team under control, and he has to do it quickly.