The League

John Gennaro
Chargers Blogger

John Gennaro

A die hard San Diego Chargers fan and writer for Bolts From The Blue.

Locker room test


The new Jets regime that came in with new head coach Rex Ryan is proving to be just aggressive in their roster moves as they are with their blitzing defense. Looking an awful lot like the Dallas Cowboys this offseason, the Jets have taken chances by trading for two players with off-the-field problems (Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes) and signing a potentially over-the-hill running back (LaDainian Tomlinson). Recent reports of the Jets trying to sign former sack-master Jason Taylor go right in line with all of their other moves. There's no doubt about it, this new regime is much more concerned with what you can do, or have done, on the field rather than what you do while off it.

That philosophy is one that has been used by several teams, particularly the ones aggressive in free agency, over the last few years. The Redskins are famous for signing almost anybody that's looking for a big pay day, as long as that person has the potential to help their team. In the cases of DeAngelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth, those moves have not exactly paid off as the Washington brass had hoped.

For those that are too dangerous for even the Redskins, there are the Raiders and Cowboys. Adam "Pac Man" Jones and Terrell Owens are just a couple of the players that Cowboys' Owner/GM Jerry Jones thought were worth the headaches, and it was only after those players were sent packing that the Cowboys were finally able to win a playoff game. The Raiders have tried for over a decade to cover up their poor drafts by signing or trading for troublesome players like Randy Moss, Javon Walker and (again) DeAngelo Hall. None of those talented players were able to help the Raiders to a winning record, and many only waited a few games before speaking their minds and lashing out against the Oakland coaches and ownership.

There are countless other examples, especially in the last decade, or teams (like the Cincinnati Bengals) that showed in their roster moves that on-the-field performance was more important than off-the-field behavior, and in every case the teams have not turned around or did not turn around until they took a hard line with their "headache" players. I understand that Rex Ryan has faith in himself and his staff to maintain chemistry in the locker room and to keep a single player from weighing down the entire team, but once you start showing some leeway for bad behaviors with some players the other players start wondering why they're going out of their way to stay out of trouble. When you've reached that point, the focus on football is gone.

Tomlinson might be a pretty good RB behind the Jets' monstrous offensive line, but I doubt it after watching him closely for the past few seasons. Cromartie might have plenty of success playing man-coverage in a blitzing scheme, but I don't know that it's going to make him change his ways after being an off-the-field headache since high school. Santonio Holmes immediately becomes the most dangerous receiver on the Jets team, but for a guy who was traded for a love of partying (a little too hard) it's hard to argue that a move to New York City is going to calm him down. Every move the Jets have made this offseason has hit me in two waves. The first wave is the wonderment of what it might do to help that Jets team, the same way people were sure that Randy Moss would make the Raiders offense explosive years ago. The second wave is wondering why Rex Ryan would take such a strong locker room and add these bad seeds to it. I think the New York media is going to have a field day this season with all of the non-football stories associated with Gang Green.

By John Gennaro  |  April 13, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , Dallas Cowboys , NFL , New York Jets , Pittsburgh Steelers , San Diego Chargers , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: The operative word is 'if' | Next: On paper, two great moves

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