A very happy New Year to you and yours. I’m up and running here at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, trying not to think about the Jets’ awful effort on Sunday.
I can’t imagine anyone really wants to hear about that by now, plus since the Titans won anyway it doesn’t really matter, but since it’s on my mind and I’m still trying to clear my head of all the pork and fried food (note: not mutually exclusive categories) I ate this week, real quick:
Santonio Holmes embarrassed himself, and benching Holmes was probably the best decision Brian Schottenheimer made all season. Y’all must know by now I’m not much for sanctimony when it comes to player behavior, but sulking about your individual opportunities has no place on a football field when a team is playing for its life, or, really, any other time.
Selfishness in baseball is fine about 95% of the time. A player working to pad his own stats — whatever that means — is going to work to get hits and home runs, and if that means occasionally eschewing sacrifice bunts and small-ball tactics it might not win him favors on the bench or in the clubhouse but it doesn’t seem likely to do his club much damage in the long run. This we’ve discussed.
Football requires 11 men operating in unison, and one squeaky, whiny wheel demanding oil can gum up the whole machine. Or something.
And not that it matters. The Jets’ engine never really ran optimally this season, and Holmes is hardly the only one to blame. Schottenheimer’s playcalling was as predictable and plodding as the inexorable march of time. Mark Sanchez spent most of the season looking somewhere between timid and terrified in the pocket, partly due to some woeful play from his offensive line, partly due perhaps to his own inability to throw the ball downfield with any professional accuracy.
But if for some masochistic reason I ever choose to look back on the Jets’ 2011 campaign, once full of hype and hope and hoopla, the lasting memory will be Holmes getting shoved out of the huddle by his own teammates: the embodiment of an offense gone awry and of Rex Ryan’s too-often misplaced faith in his players contradicted with empirical evidence.
True story: I twice fought with teammates during high-school football games. For whatever reason — and as sad as this is to admit — high-school football was about the only thing I’ve ever taken seriously, and it made me something of a red-ass on the field and in practice. The first time, a receiver I believed to be stoned was laughing on the sideline during a lopsided loss, and I overreacted. I was frustrated; it was the worst game of my football career.
The second time, a tailback who had spent most of the season suspended returned only to complain about the blocking in front of him, then taunted an offensive lineman with a speech impediment in the huddle. I lost it and shoved him off the field, then got into it with him again on the sideline later.
If I remember correctly we actually won that game — a rarity — but none of that matters now. I mention both those anecdotes only because I had figured that for the most part, guys with those type of attitude issues are weeded out long before they hit the pros — if only because the amount of work that must go into maintaining an NFL career seems likely to deter anyone who couldn’t even maintain decorum in high school games. But I guess assuming that is ignoring ample evidence to the contrary. Exhibit A: Santonio Holmes.
Whatever. Whatever, whatever. It’s depressing and I don’t really want to think about it anymore. Same old Jets, I guess is the point.
How ’bout them Hoyas?