Palladino: Classlessness Catches Up With Jets

‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.” He’ll be covering football throughout the season.

Want to know the difference between the Giants and Jets?

Well, for one, the Giants are in the playoffs.

They’re also classy, for the most part. The Jets? Rex Ryan installed Santonio Holmes as a captain. Yes, that same Holmes who started an on-field battle royale with his teammates in the final minutes of a horrible 19-17 loss that sealed the Jets’ 8-8, non-playoff season. Who got called for a stupid, look-at-me touchdown celebration as the Jets trailed Philadelphia by 18 points. Who ripped his quarterback in a player’s only meeting last week.

If you thought Holmes’ actions were reprehensible during the game, you should have heard what happened at the Florham Park camp as Ryan’s failed team packed up for a long offseason.

You had a coach begging, in tears, for team unity, a little bit too late after his so-called captain earlier got into it with the offensive line, and then had to be pulled out of the final game because he had become the ultimate disruptive force in the huddle. This is what the Jets committed $45 million for?

The fact that any of it happened goes on Rex Ryan. He’s the guy who installed a career-long head case as a team leader, a job Holmes predictably mistook as an opportunity for self-aggrandizement. And Monday, in a further showing of his bleached out colors, Holmes stormed out of the clubhouse, escorted (guarded?) by the team’s public relations director.

Add linebacker Bart Scott to the list, too, though showing off his middle finger (on an otherwise ringless hand) is not uncommon these days. Remember, Brandon Jacobs wished reporters and photogs a happy offseason in a rather unorthodox manner last season. But the point is, Scott was just another example of the classlessness Ryan has fostered.

Lack of class eventually translates into lack of production. For this, we compare Mark Sanchez and Eli Manning. As the Cowboys came back from 21-0 in the second half, and the heat came hot and heavy on Manning, he stepped and spun his way out of a couple of sure sacks, eyes always downfield, and found Victor Cruz.

Sanchez threw three interceptions.

While the Giants came together and figured out how to stop the bleeding, the Jets bled out, stuck as much by Holmes’ shiv of discontent as Sanchez’ inability to handle the tight spot.

Some players said it was evident Holmes had checked out three weeks ago, when the Jets still had their playoff hopes in their hands. It could have had something to do with Sanchez’ last three flops, in which he threw seven of his season’s 18 interceptions.

If Sanchez is any kind of leader, he’ll lobby Ryan to launch Holmes, the sooner the better. If Ryan is any kind of true leader, he’ll stop crying and get rid of Holmes himself.

And then he’ll start rebuilding his team, starting with his own persona. He needs to become humbler, quieter. He needs to be the head coach, not biggest mouth on this Island of Misfit Toys he’s created.

He needs a new offensive coordinator (Norv Turner, assuming San Diego fires him?). General manager Mike Tannenbaum needs to get him a young, viable backup quarterback that has more use than a concocted practice-snap spur to his starter.

Do all that, and add a few pieces who truly believe in a team-first mentality, and perhaps the Jets won’t go into a prolonged non-playoff swoon. Ryan may even get to keep his job after next year.

But it all starts with class, a quality that didn’t exist this year.

Instead, Ryan let a me-first guy like Holmes slime all over the captain’s C.

There are a lot of decisions to be made starting Tuesday. Ryan and Tannenbaum need to think very, very hard about fixing the mess they’ve created.

Start with class. That’s the easiest thing. Do that, and the rest can fall into place.

Will the Jets be able to change their culture with Ryan at the helm?  Sound off in the comments below…

  • richard020

    1. Hey, Eli was “Did we make a mistake in drafting him?” for 3-4 seasons before he grew into the job.

    2. Santonio was only moping in the huddle. It was a teammate’s criticisms that got him all upset and angry. What, he’s supposed to be responsible for his reactions?

    (Comment 1 serious, comment 2 not.).

    • ??

      richard020, Sanchez has been one of the worst starting QBs the last 3 yrs. Manning did win a title in his 4th year and has grown to be a top QB.

      You’re still looking in the Rex Ryan crystal ball where you were seeing the Jets win a Super Bowl dating back to ’09. Give it up, Sanchez will never be better then what he already is no matter what you’re seeing in the crystal ball.

      The Jets finished 8-8 and part of the reason was Sanchez taking the ball. You must’ve been confused when you saw what you thought was number 9, but that was number 6. Yes richard020, that QB you saw on his ass in just about every game was Sanchez, 5 times against the Giants.

  • Phil

    Everyone forgets how the media and public portrayed the giants last year after they let the eagles come back on a punt return touch down. They were the laughing stock of ny and the JETS were the winners of ny.

    My point is if you dont win you are scrutinized. Last year the Jets were the only team in NY and now its the Giants.

    Did the Giants really have a good year anyways. That team isnt as good as their division championship makes them out to be. If the Giants lose to ATL then your going to hear…fire coughlin etc etc etc. Eli cant step up in the playoffss anymore…ETC etc etc….I mean the jets had a bad year. IT HAPPENS…

    • Bob D.

      Holmes and Ryan can certainly take some lessons in humilty but, like everything in the media, their biggest sin was they lost. I’m sure if their actions were the same and they won, “lack of class” would have been replaced by their “toughness” and “championship demeanor”. With a zillion hours of air time and web space to fill, the media is looking, for anything, and I mean anything to
      fill air time and web space. I remember when journalism was an honorable profession.. What tripe!

  • Bobby

    When the best player in your franchise’s history is Lawrence Taylor, you forfeit the right to call yourself classy.

    • ..

      and this coming from a fan of a team with jailbirds, wife beaters, unlicensed gun carrying Tony Montana wanna be thugs, & drunk drivers (Holmes, Burress, Cromartie) and let’s not forget Edwards. So Bobby knows what he’s talking about.

      But what Bobby is really angry about is the Giants slam dunking Sanchez and he’s overrated Jets, ending their imaginary Super Bowl title run.

    • Tommy C


      What LT did was in fact foolish. He paid for a piece of ass . Were you in the court room ?…I Was ….The girl admitted she lied when she said she was 20 yrs old . She wasn’t raped in the sense LT forced her , she was paid. The dude has/had drug problems…. but never ….NEVER !!!!! NOT performed up too and over his abilities on the field.You should ask the players Lawrence played with their opinons … he was the Greatest teamate you couldhave i know cause i was one of them .The Jets new motto should be ………….CAN’T WAIT ….. till next year.

  • Kevin M McGrath Sr.

    He was referring to Bart Scott re:missing ring. Where’s Woody in all this? He hired Rex and appears to still support him & the GM. Rex is a big empty gasbag and this team will do nothing until they bring in a professional head coach. Plus it’s become apparent to me that Sanchez just doesn’t have enough gray matter between his ears to be a successful pro QB.

    • Jim inVA

      I think Woody is one of the major problems with this team. What he shows me, is that he really doesn’t care if this team wins or not! He sits up in his box, with his Jets hat on, looking like the fool he is. Can you imagine Bob Kraft accepting any of this with the Patriots? I can’t put this on Sanchez. Shotty did the same thing to Drew Breese in San Diego. Yet, this organization wants him back! What does that say about the commitment to winning in the Jets organization. It”s non existant, and always will be. I just think back to poor old Leon Hess’s statement “I wan’t to win now, that;s why I am hiring Richie Kotite” Sheeze, some things will never change.

  • Ernie Palladino


    Sorry, should have phrased that better. Was referring to Brandon’s classless sendoff, not that he doesn’t have a ring. He does, of course, from SB XLII.

  • BleacherCreature26

    i stopped reading when you wrote that Brandon Jacobs doesn’t have a ring.

    • faraday

      Where did he write that?

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