Hey Flight Boy: You’re In a Tailspin .. Shut Up & Win

For the last few weeks, the Jets have been sniping each other.  Here’s a quick list of some of the recent comments and what strikes me about just how dysfunctional this team looks to outsiders right now. 

Publicly: Mason’s ‘cracks’ comments, Holmes on the execution of his QB, OL and Schotty.
As Reparation: Sanchez stating that Holmes’ public criticism won’t be repeated.
Anonymously: WRs going into Rex’s office to complain about Schotty.
As Public Recidivism: Holmes not backing off his comments and criticizing the line a second time.
Questioning All Leadership: Moore on Holmes captaincy –AND– management for allowing Holmes to do it twice.

As I see it, here’s what we now have:

… A Captain Who Doesn’t (or Doesn’t Care to) Understand Politics – Some of Holmes’s criticisms might be the truth, but trying to motivate teammates by calling them out is the nuclear option in sports.  Maybe Holmes thinks this will work.  But leadership works best when the leader values themselves at, or even below, the level of their peers.  Captains are meant to be leaders among their teammates and ambassadors to the world.  Guys like Sanchez and Pouha are captains because they build relationships, bring the team together, serve their teammates, and treat their teammates respectfully to the outside world (press).  Naming Holmes as captain was a risk, and now we’re seeing why.

A Captain Who Doesn’t Even Listen to Other Captains – Sanchez publicly stated that the Jets couldn’t stand to have critical remarks like the ones Holmes made happen again.  Then just weeks later, it happened again.  It’s fair to assume that Santonio was talked to about the matter, and based on his second set of comments.  Either he A) thinks this works, B) doesn’t care, C) doesn’t respect his co-captains wishes, or D) forgot what he’d been commanded to not do.  Take your pick, neither is very encouraging.

A Captain Whose Credibility Can’t Stem from Otherwordly Production – So Holmes is abrasive, says impolitic things, but there’s a fair tradeoff for the drama. Right?  Rex can gush all he likes about how Santonio was a thorn in his side during his days in Baltimore, but the bottom line is that Holmes has never had 80 catches in a season, never had more than 10 touchdowns in a season, and only once been top ten (7th, 2009) in receiving yards during his career.  On half the teams in the league, he’d be the team’s #2 receiver – he’s lucky to be in the (historically) WR wasteland known as the New York Jets where he’s a number one.  If Holmes was regularly putting up 150 yard games, scoring 12 touchdowns a year, then you could live with the headache … but that’s not even the case.  At his current pace, Holmes will be lucky if he catches 80 balls OR breaks 1000 yards OR catches 10 TDs this season. 

A Management That’s Allowing This to Happen – James Harrison on the Steelers says stupid stuff all the time, then he publicly apologizes for his comments and everyone moves on.  We all know  the deal.  The Rooneys or Tomlin forces Harrison to recant.  The Jets refusal to strong-arm their players into softening some of their public remarks hasn’t been necessary in the first two years of Ryan’s reign, but now the chickens are coming home to roost.  Rex has made it clear that his only rules are to mention teammates positively, Holmes won’t do it and has broken that sacrosanct rule now twice.  That should be reason enough to allow Ryan to address the behavior without looking wishy-washy.

A Team Who Openly Questions Authority – Brandon Moore’s comments signify more than just questioning taking a shot at Holmes.  Moore is right to bring up the second “throwing under the bus” that Holmes seems intent to continue.  More importantly, is to see that Moore is also questioning WHY someone like Santonio would even be a captain in the first place – the team knew they playing with fire by doing something like this .. didn’t they?

The Jets stand a pretty good shot at winning Monday night, and if they do, the backstabbing might evaporate.  But the Jets need to pull out of this losing tailspin, and I think it’s – at the very least – fair to say that the drama isn’t helping.  JUST SHUT UP AND WIN.