TJ Rosenthal of The Jet Report is back with another feature, today looking at the New York Jets ongoing struggles with media exposure. Make sure to give TJ a follow on Twitter and to follow his work all season long at both The Jet Report and here at Turn On The Jets
For the Jets, the offense with their return to the Ground and Pound, and the defense with their newcomers and hopeful additions of the 4-3 and the 46, are just the major concepts going under a transformation on the fly. There is more. You have key players most notably Mark Sanchez who seek consistency and efficiency. Then there are the coaches starting with Rex Ryan who aim to have a better handle on guiding things than they did during the 8-8 disaster last year. Finally, you have the tricky open door media policy. One that provides a unique window into the minds of the personalities of this team directly, but when utilized foolishly, still threatens to divide before it conquers.
On Monday Antonio Cromartie told the world that he is currently the second best wideout the Jets have. It sounded like a joke, or a street ball challenge to us. It came off as a slight though to newly acquired Chaz Schilens. The episode made national headlines thanks to the fact that ESPN has replaced the idea of an HBO “Hard Knocks” return this summer by pitching it’s own tents in Cortland to stalk the Jets every morning. The episode forced Rex Ryan to remind his club and in a way himself, to be careful about HOW one addresses the media.
After all, it had only been days since Santonio Holmes, a star who constantly struggles with timing and tone (no pun intended) when it comes to airing out his thoughts near a microphone, stated publicly that a two QB system won’t work.
In Ryan’s mind, who knew what player would simply step up to the podium and do some damage next. Who could tell how the next words out of a Jet players mouth would be interpreted by fans, teammates, and sportswriters?
To Ryan, Monday early evening meant warning time.
Hey, Rex’s Jets will never end up quiet. Silent. Shy. It’s not in their DNA. They can however, like both sides of the ball, find a groove that works for them. That embodies who they are in an effective, rather than destructive way. Post practice articles that popped up and questioned whether or not this was the first new Gang Green locker room squabble, after a plethora of them took place last year, were jumping the gun. In the same way that QB pitch counts between Sanchez and Tim Tebow are jumping the gun right now. However, Ryan’s warning shot was on point in that it’s never too early to establish habits worth keeping throughout an entire season.
The Jets have to realize from the top of the organization on down that the media will continue to look for anything that keeps the newsworthy club relevant in banner headline fashion. The Jets are one of those “it” teams, especially now that some guy named Tebow has joined them. How they finished last season only dramatizes further the storyline of the rise and fall of a cocky, confident, brash club. The real question now is where does the story end. Will the Jets rise again under Ryan or sink further into confusion and disarray that to some, only scratched the surface in 2011?
At this point in time it is all a work in progress and too early to tell. Rebranding the offense to feature the ground game, while unleashing a new versatile athletic defense provides a new roadmap for Sanchez and Co. to follow, as they seek a way back to the playoffs. Heading back down the winning direction however, while avoiding the pitfalls of quotes that writers can turn into locker room wedges, may be the biggest challenge of them all for the 2012 Jets.