By Josh Katzowitz
Just how bad was the Jets locker room toward the end of the season? Real, real bad, says Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson. In fact, he told Showtime’s Inside the NFL in an episode that airs tonight at 9 p.m. that it’s the worst locker in which he’s ever been.
“And I’ve been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not,” Tomlinson said. “But it was as bad as I’ve been around. You know it was at the point where I think the players could no longer do anything about it. There was nothing that the players could do. So when it gets to that point there are certain changes that need to happen. Can it be fixed, Cris? I think absolutely it can be. But they’re going to have to make some tough decisions.”
That’s funny, because during Rex Ryan’s postseason press conference, he and general manager Mike Tannenbaum said basically that nothing would be fixed. Those plans, of course, changed when lightning rod offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said he wouldn’t return in 2012. But that still leaves receiver Santonio Holmes, who played the role of ‘team captain’ very poorly this season, and Mark Sanchez -- who is New York City’s favorite punching bag -- remaining, along with a head coach who might begin feeling some heat next season.
|Nightmare in New York|
But Tomlinson also wasn’t necessarily surprised that the locker room went to hell. That, he said, is the risk for a team that takes on the personality of its coach.
“Guys, think about this,” he told James Brown, Phil Simms, Cris Collinsworth and Warren Sapp. “They (Jets organization) created this. This is the type of football team that they wanted. Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan are both brash, in-your-face type of style, say whatever you want, just get it done on the field. And then it leads to other things, as guys are calling each other out and saying I’m not getting the ball or whatever it may be.”
A few other interesting nuggets that Tomlinson lets loose tonight.
On whether Sanchez can overcome the drama: “I think he can overcome it. I think, the guy that said, that came at him, I don’t know who it was, that said Sanchez was lazy, but I disagree with that. The guy is not lazy, guys. He is not a lazy guy. He puts in the time after practice in the film room. He can get it done. He just has to have pieces around him to help him get it done.
On whether Sanchez is pampered: “Yes he is, I would say a bit pampered because he has no competition. He has no real threat to say this guy may take my job.”
On Ryan’s public bold predictions and statements for Jets and their opponents: “I would prefer him not to say it as much as he did. I don’t mind every now and again saying we are going to win a championship. Maybe at the beginning of the year just saying, ‘Hey, our goal is to win a championship.’ But at the same time every week if you are calling out a team on certain things, I think it puts a little extra on your team. Guys really want to go out there and say, ‘Let’s shut this guy up. Let’s shut these Jets up, just end their season.’ I think that adds to that when Rex speaks up like that because, you know, everybody doesn’t like that type of style, and they’re not supposed to. But at the same time there are certain things that you can do to not have it come off like that.”
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