By Jeff Capellini, CBSNewYork/WFAN.com
NEW YORK (WFAN) — And you wonder why NFL wide receivers have this reputation.
In the past week the Jets have made more noise off the field than on it. You may be wondering how that’s different than any other week. Well, I’m here to tell you.
Usually, or at least in Jets circles, the idea of talking big takes the form of a demonstrative calling-out of someone on an opposing team. We’ve heard it many, many times with this bunch and by and large it has just been viewed as the “Jets being the Jets.” At first it was shocking because the public wasn’t used to a predominantly underachieving franchise being so boisterous and thinking of itself in such high regard.
But that all changed when Rex Ryan came aboard a few years ago. Winning became the norm and talking about how great you are became the battle cry. I’m still not totally used to it. Maybe I’m insecure. I have no idea.
Regardless, the Jets had become Rembrandts in the art of psychological warfare, not because the opposition took it that seriously, but because being the schoolyard bully worked extremely well for the Jets’ own collective psyche. Simply, they played better. They developed that overused term “swagger,” and executed said touting of themselves while belittling the opposition in grand fashion.
But then a funny thing happened. The Jets started to lose. And with the defeats came a form of mutiny.
Leading the attack on their own kind, naturally, was two receivers. It’s always the receivers who lead the uprising. It’s hysterical. They punch, run and then drop passes.
I didn’t want to believe Santonio Holmes was such a diva. I really wanted to believe Holmes is just a fiery guy with an eye on nothing but winning, as his Super Bowl ring and MVP, and penchant for being a game-changing force out wide would seem to suggest.
I was wrong. Holmes is a tremendous football player. He’s also a diva.
As is Derrick Mason.
In the past week, Holmes and Mason joined a star-studded cast of the pampered and famous. One outburst eventually led to a trade and the other set teammate relations back about 50 years.
Both are now, officially, part of the “There’s Plenty Of ‘I’ In T-E-A-M” production on Broadway. They have taken over for Terrell Owens and Randy Moss as the leads. And, rest assured, their actions were partly about getting bravos and curtain calls. Yes, they both want to win. I’d never question their hearts. I just have a serious problem with their approaches.
Mason’s mouth was well known. For him to get fired up about something shouldn’t have come as a shock to anyone. You just figured the guy would go along before he’d get along a bit with the Jets, a new team he’d been with for all of five weeks.
Of course not.
While the plot thickens over what Mason supposedly said to Rex to get him tossed out of town, Holmes has managed to alienate his entire offensive line with his multiple diatribes to the media. You’d think $50 million would at least buy some class.
Of course not.
“Just throw the ball to No. 10,” he said the other day when asked what the Jets could do to fix their offensive woes.
Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like someone we know, someone who had physical gifts from God but not the first clue how to conduct himself in front of cameras and writers?
Let me try it again: “Just throw the DAMN ball to No. 10.”
Does that help?
Funny, that guy now makes his living in front of a camera. Again, I have no idea.
Anyway, when first the Jets started talking some years back the younger generation of fans felt an inner pull to a faraway land and wanted to be on the last shuttle out of Loserville. They jumped on the Rex bandwagon and bought into the “us against the world” mentality. The old among us cringed and made daily stops at our local house of worship to ask our God what the hell we had done to deserve the burden of having to defend ourselves to opposing fans over our team’s behavior and collective voice.
Ya see, older people don’t give a crap about swagger. We just want to win a championship before we die.
But that all said, something unexpected went down this week. Even the youngest of Jets fan started having moments of pause. When Holmes decided it was time to attack his offensive line for the second time this season, not to mention an earlier verbal barrage on quarterback Mark Sanchez, the young pups started rolling their eyes and saying, “Dude, please, enough already.” Trust me, it’s happening. I have the tweets to prove it.
Jets fans are finally getting wise to this team’s old and busted act. Now some of you, including myself, believe the Jets simply play better when their mouths are running. That’s all well and good. But this team is hardly the united front it thinks it is when it starts attacking its own kind. You want to get on Tom Brady, good. You want to blast teammate Wayne Hunter or Brandon Moore, bad.
The Jets have backed themselves into a corner with no windows. They have no idea what they are offensively, no clue what they want to be viewed as by the public and absolutely not a hint of an understanding that you keep team issues in-house. They have no identity. They keep trying out different personas and keep ending up looking like rank amateurs.
Sooner or later, this team has to realize that the best way to send a message is to do it on the field. I know. That’s about as overused a cliche as there is, but it’s so apropos right now I can’t think of any other way to state it.
The Jets are currently men without a country. Jets Nation is beginning to protest. The media is having a field day. Opponents are chomping at the bit to smack around the “greatest show in print.” This isn’t even a case where one could feel sorry for the Jets in some form. They’ve totally made their own bed this season, but are currently on the outs with the wife and sleeping on the couch.
The only way to fix this problem is to swallow some pride, ease off on the off-field histrionics and get back to the basics of playing football.
Because if you thought this past week was interesting just imagine what next week will be like if they lose or look bad in beating the winless and crummy Dolphins on Monday night.
It would be a nightmare of epic proportions.
And they’d have no one but themselves to blame.
Read more columns by Jeff Capellini
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