Palladino: Greg McElroy Shouldn’t Take Jets Heat

‘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.

The Twitter accounts of media and fans grew hot with reaction to backup quarterback Greg McElroy’s illuminating account of life in the Jets’ 2011 locker room, as related in a Birmingham, Al. radio interview.

Some, even in the media, called him an “entitled brat” for spilling the beans over the dissension that tore at the team throughout the season. The rookie watched it all from the injured reserve list, the result of preseason thumb surgery.

Others supported him, calling him as brave as future Hall-of-Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the only other Jet to go on the record about Santonio Holmes’ disgraceful behavior against Miami, which marked only the apex of the toxicity level in Rex Ryan’s locker room.

Although the team’s eminent general manager Mike Tannenbaum might disagree, he and Ryan should pin a medal on both men for their openness. Tannenbaum, of course, said in a radio interview with WFAN Wednesday that he didn’t think the problem was all that bad, which basically puts him in the same windowless stable as Ryan.

Be that as it may, there is little doubt that the Jets had a problem. And there is far lesser reason to doubt McElroy than there is to believe Tannenbaum.

This, McElroy basically said, is a sick team in need of a 12-step program.

The first step to any 12-step program is admission that one has a problem in the first place.

That’s all Tomlinson and McElroy did. They shed light on the problem in a very public way. For that, they should be praised, not vilified.

Think of it this way. What if all this had come to light right after the 45-19 loss to Philadelphia, about the time numerous anonymous Jets said Holmes had basically checked out on the season? Ryan, who undoubtedly reads everything even if he never stepped into the daily locker room to check the pulse of HIS team, might have had an inkling that all was not well.

He might have made his impassioned plea before the last two games, not after, reminding his team that the playoffs were still within reach if they just beat the Giants.

The “corrupt” mindset, as McElroy termed it, might have turned temporarily.

Well, that didn’t happen, of course. Everybody kept their mouths shut. After it all collapsed, McElroy and Tomlinson came forward.

Now it’s a question of whether those two will simply be the messengers of the mess, or whether they’ll become part of the solution next season. Tomlinson could head off into retirement. How the Jets will deal with McElroy is still up in the air.

Even the quarterback admitted there will be many changes, probably to the troublemakers as Tannenbaum and Ryan ferret them out. But the ancient Greeks also used to kill the messenger of bad news, too, a tradition the Jets could well uphold as they deal with McElroy down the road.

Trading him or releasing him in a punitive action would be a mistake. He apparently has the talent to push Mark Sanchez, something the Jets need as much as a chemical peel.

Ryan and Tannenbaum should give him that opportunity, and maybe a raise for doing the Jets a real service.

He shed light on a major problem.

Now, all Ryan and Tannenbaum have to do is admit to having one. No soft-soaping. No equivocation.

It’s the first step in turning things around.

Should McElroy be praised or criticized for speaking out?

  • Lamont C. Cranston

    Parting Shot (Learned in US Military): Followers – hide things and push them under ground – Leaders bring them to the surface and try to fix them. Bottom Line (suggested for quote/unquote “team leader(s) and management): Lead, Follow, or Get The Hell Out of The Way…

  • keith brabon

    It would be a mistake to let Mcelroy go. When healthy, he is just as good as Sanchez.They drafted a diamond in the rough. THE JETS SHOULD RID OF THE CANCER IN THE LOCKER ROOM SANTONIO HOLMES.

  • Luitenant Caffey US Navy Lawyer

    I want the truth! Who ordered the “code green”

  • Will Smythe

    What did this guy have to gain by making this story up? I tend to believe every bit of what he’s saying. The evidence is there. Again, the man has nothing to gain and everything to lose (getting cut).

  • scorp980

    They better not get rid of him, the qb has potential but like most clown runned business’s they’ll will get rid of him and watch him be successful somewhere else.

    • FireDawg Bill

      Sanchez has been in the league for 3 full yrs now, when is the potential label removed? Tell me what part of his game is good? because from what we all have seen he needs to improve in every part of his game.

      I don’t know what potential you have seen in Sanchez, maybe your Tivo recorded his only good professional game & you keep playing it over & over again

      These are the pros, big money is spend on these players, how much time does a professional team has the wait for the player to finally develop into a star player. These are the pros not the minor leagues, here you learn fast, have the talent or you’re out of a job.

      One good game in between many bad one speaks volume & so far Sanchez has shown he cannot cut it in the NFL, not as a starting QB, the most important position in any team sport.

  • Lamont C. Cranston

    Mcelroy illuminated a problem that has likely impacted on the Jet’s season and success. He once again identified a problem that exists throughout all sport…trash turned into millionaires. Just a thought: have the morons that normally respond to anything beyond their understanding considered he was egged on to make the statement by his management? He received an “outstanding” exit interview…so. And…he isn’t a Rookie…

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