The Jets were constantly criticized about their locker room issues in 2011. But how bad were the issues really? LaDanian Tomlinson thinks the media took it to another level, but the thought that we could keep these lingering issues a secret forever is just preposterous.
“It got out of hand toward the end of the season. That is why it got out in the media. This is something that happened (in the) third or fourth week of the season, that was going on, and nobody knew about it because the players kept it under wraps. Until we went on that losing streak and guys started to speak up and speak out about certain things.” -LaDanian Tomlinson
The best way to fix any locker room issue is to first and foremost, get the team together as a whole. Where? Well, Florham Park (Jets Practice Facility) isn’t cutting it. The place the Jets need to be is Cortland, NY. We need to get every Jets player on a bus and in Cortland for camp this summer. And we will.
Creating a new atmosphere for the team is crucial. To spend time away from home with one another and learn every personality trait beneath their labeled perception is an excellent way to build trust, loyalty, and dedication for one another. We (as fans) want to see every player on this team have the same mentality going into the 2012 season. And that mentality is– that everyone in the organization, from top to bottom, will give everything they’ve got for the person beside them. We want to see each player put it on the line for the guy next to him….the guy with the Jets logo on the side of their helmet. Building team chemistry comes in training camp, where blood, sweat, and tears are shed. What better place to build that chemistry than Cortland, NY? Besides, that’s where Rex Ryan established a new culture for our team and eventually helped us get to back to back AFC Championships in 2009 and 2010.
The window of opportunity that the Jets need to take advantage of this offseason is in training camp. Camp in Cortland will help build our “ground and pound” running attack back up to what it was in 2009 (Ranked 1st in the NFL) and 2010 (Ranked 4th).
The Jets ranked 22nd rushing in 2011 and that is just unacceptable for a Rex Ryan team, who thrives on running the ball and playing great defense. The time to fix the running game is now–Especially because we missed that opportunity when the NFL was coming off a year in which players were locked out of team facilities and offseason programs due to CBA negotiations. Jamie Dukes, of NFL Network agrees, that training camp is key for the Jets and our rushing attack in 2012:
“I think they (Jets) addressed them (run problems). The guys name is Tony Sparano. You know that in training camp, THAT’S WHEN you learn how to run the football. And because of what happened last year, (the) lockout and all that other kind of stuff that was going on. And then you add with the New York Jets, they decided to try and see if (Mark) Sanchez could throw the ball 45 times a game. You don’t turn running the football on and off in this league. I’ve never seen it happen where you can do that.”
Dukes goes on, explaining the Jets Offensive Coordinator’s emphasis on his run-first philosophy, “Tony Sparano’s not coming in there (as Jets O.C.) to throw the ball 45 times a game.”
2nd Year Players
As rookies, Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, Jeremy Kerley, Greg McElroy, and Scotty McKnight were all forced into their first NFL season. They had no chance to adapt to the transition of going from college to the NFL, which rookies get to experience. Coming straight into the NFL during a lockout is extremely difficult, but I would say that these guys did a great job considering the position they were put in. Do you agree?
Wilkerson made an immediate impact, getting his first career sack/safety on only his second career game. That’s pretty impressive!
As far as Ellis and Powell, it is safe to say that it’s far too early to tell what impact they might have. You can say the same regarding McElroy and S.McKnight.
However, Jeremy Kerley is an absolute stud. From day one, this guy has stood out. His potential is obvious and he showed his versatility, as he threw a deep pass out of the wildcat for a completion and caught a number of passes from Sanchez during the final regular season game in Miami. Most fans want to forget that game (I don’t blame them), but the point is: If you agree that this group made any impact last year, can you imagine what they can do after a whole offseason of preparation? The sky is the limit.
A New Start to a New Season – Reason to Believe
Some call me an “Optimistic Jets Fan”, but come on, how can younot be excited for our team this year? We are a talented group, coming off an 8-8 season that we will absolutely learn from.
As Mark Sanchez said a few weeks ago, regarding the downfall in Miami, “Looking back now, I’m glad it happened that way because we needed to go into this season making changes. If we would’ve played well and won the game … Let’s say I threw five touchdowns and everything was great, do we really solve anything?…I don’t think so. It was almost like a necessary evil.”
As Mr. Cheezle (Kevin Nealon) said in Grandma’s Boy, “Good things are coming. Good things.”
Let us know what type of impact that training camp in Cortland will have for the 2012 Jets! Answer the poll on the sidebar!