|Santonio Holmes should be sent packing. (AP photo)|
Rex Ryan, speaking to the team, teared up while talking about team chemistry and sticking together, something that obviously was an issue all year long.
It came to a head in the final minutes against the Dolphins when captain Santonio Holmes was caught yelling at a player in the Jets' huddle, reportedly going back-and-forth with tackle Wayne Hunter. Soon after, Holmes was replaced by Patrick Turner, banished to the bench as the Jets were driving for a touchdown. The one doing the benching was Brian Schottenheimer, according to a report on ESPN, which for once, was a great call by the offensive coordinator.
Holmes, who was also called out by LaDainian Tomlinson after the game as having no desire to play, let alone lead the team as a captain, is the heart of the problem. He apparently got into a yelling match with Mark Sanchez during an offensive meeting this week, and even though some players said it wasn't a big deal today, there is no reason to believe now the Jets wide receiver wasn't at least a distraction.
Holmes has always had a bad reputation off the field. Remember, the Jets got him from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a fifth-round draft pick. You don't get great players in this league for nothing, so what happened this season is no surprise. It should have been expected. But the Jets deemed his one good year in New York enough to hand him a 5-year, $45 million contract.
That choice may have killed this entire season before it began. Braylon Edwards, who had just as much talent as Holmes, was passed over for some unknown reason. Edwards had his own baggage as well, but he was never considered a bad teammate during his time in New York. Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan made a huge mistake with that decision and they paid for it with this nightmare of an end to the season.
Ryan and Tannenbaum will both meet with the media today at 3 p.m. and it should no doubt be interesting to see exactly what they will say about Holmes and the overall team chemistry. It's also possible they will announce the firing for Schottenheimer.
But before we get to that, here is what the Jets need to do this offseason with the current roster, broken down by position.
|Mark Sanchez should be back next season. (AP)|
Running Back: Shonn Greene had his first 1,000-yard season, but he hasn't proven he can be the team's go-to back. That has to change next season, as he will be the main ball carrier again. He needs to take a major step forward. LaDainian Tomlinson shouldn't return, which means Joe McKnight will have to take over his role on the offense. McKnight showed sparks this season that he can succeed in that role. Bilal Powell, a rookie, should get more opportunities next season.
Tight End: Dustin Keller will be back next season. Matthew Mulligan needs to find a new home. He was terrible this season for the Jets and there is no reason why he should be on the roster.
Wide Receiver: Santonio Holmes can't return next season. Hopefully Ryan and Tannenbaum don't believe they can turn him back into a team-player, because it will never happen. Holmes is a locker room virus and needs to be sent packing. If they get rid of Holmes, I would bring back Plaxico Burress. He didn't do anything special this season, but if you get rid of him and Holmes, who's left? Jeremy Kerley had a great game against Miami, but he's a slot receiver. With Burress and Kerley, the Jets can focus on signing one wide receiver this offseason to start opposite Burress, instead of finding two new starters. Once again, the Jets wide receiver position is back to being a major area of concern.
Offensive Line: Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Brandon Moore are the rocks of the offensive line. Matt Slauson improved this season, but if there is a capable replacement available this offseason, I wouldn't hesitate to make a change at guard. Slauson would be a very valuable backup for the Jets, something the team simply didn't have this season. The move that has no question mark is finding a new right tackle. Wayne Hunter was the worst tackle in the league this year and has to be sent packing. There's a lot of players that need to go on this Jets team, but Hunter is right at the top of the list.
Defensive Line: Mohammed Wilkerson, Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha were all solid this season. But the team needs a pass rusher in the worst way.
Linebacker: David Harris is a star but those around him aren't. Bart Scott wore out his welcome this season. He hasn't been the player we all thought when the Jets signed him to his mega deal three years ago. He was a great trash talker, something the Jets needed his first two seasons, but he was quiet this season and didn't play well on the field either. Calvin Pace is another disappointing signing several years ago from the Cardinals. He was supposed to be a great pass rusher but hasn't lived up to the hype. But he'll stick around because he can still make plays. Bryan Thomas was lost for the season due to injury. He would be a solid starter next season. Aaron Maybin is a solid pass rush specialist, and should return. Just like defensive line, the Jets need a pass rushing linebacker in the worst way.
Defensive Backs: Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, who needs to improve, are as solid as it comes at cornerback. Depth beyond those three is a concern, however. The safeties, on the other hand, are as bad as they come. Jim Leonhard, Brodney Pool and Eric Smith should not return next season. Starting over is better than having to deal with terrible play from these three players. And for all those that believe Leonhard is a good player, stop listening to the hype. Watch any game this season and you'll see how bad Leonhard really is. Clean house and start over at safety.
Special Teams: The return game is solid, if you wipe out all of the fumbles - and there was a ton of them. McKnight returning kicks and Kerley returning punts is a solid twosome. The Jets must find a replacement for punter T.J. Conley. Special teams guru Mike Westoff misjudged Conley's talent this offseason, handing him the job he wasn't good enough to handle. Nick Folk is a tough decision. If there is a kicker available that is an upgrade, which isn't as easy as you might think, then kick Folk to the curb. If not, then it's another year of the inconsistent Folk kicking field goals for the Jets.
We'll have more Jets news and analysis coming up, especially if something major happens at the Ryan and Tannenbaum press conference today at 3 p.m.