New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is the latest to weigh in about the state of his team, particularly his quarterback Mark Sanchez. The bottom line: 8-8 just isn’t good enough.
Regarding criticism that has been coming from anonymous Jets players about Sanchez, Johnson told ESPN New York, "He's the first guy in the building every morning and the last guy to leave. That’s what you expect of an NFL quarterback."
Jets players began questioning Sanchez’s practice habits and his ability to lead the team right after the season ended. An anonymous player said, “He’s lazy and content because he knows he’s not going to be benched.” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who was willing to be identified, said that Sanchez’s “rate of growth isn’t where it needs to be.”
Stories were heard of problems between Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was benched for the final plays of the last game of the season. Another player, Jets rookie quarterback Greg McElroy, said the team was full of selfish players and they had a "corrupt" mindset.
The Jets got to the AFC championship game the last two years, and began this season with high expectations. The team missed the postseason and Sanchez threw seven interceptions in their last three games, all losses, the Washington Post reported.
According to the New York Daily News, when organization members were asked about the possibility of acquiring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning if he becomes available, Jets sources said, “That’s a no-brainer. If I could get a healthy 36-year-old Peyton Manning, then, hell yeah, I would trade Sanchez.”
Yet other Jets players supported their quarterback. Left guard Matt Slauson said, according to an Associated Press report on twincities.com, "He is going to be a great quarterback, and I really believe he can lead us to a championship. He can get it done. The rest of the team has to do their part, too."
Defensive lineman Marcus Dixon said, "You can't blame a season on one guy. He's our quarterback. And that's how just about everyone in that locker room feels."
Well, not everybody. Another unnamed member of the Jets organization told the Daily News he didn’t think Manning would play for the Jets, because, “We talk the talk. We don’t back it up.”