The Jets are totally dysfunctional — whether Rex knows it or not.
Rex of old would defend players who stepped out of line. The new Rex scolds them.
You know what works, Rex? Cutting them. Whether it’s Santonio or Cromartie or the next player, there will always be a problem in the locker room or in the media — until you make it someone else’s problem.
This article made me think: what always seems to short-circuit today’s attempts to coax a group of talented but dysfunctional football players into banding together to win games? This formula worked in Oakland in the 70’s; why not in the modern NFL? There are probably lots of answers: more complicated schemes that require more preparation; opponents who are physically better prepared, such that a talented group of knuckleheads can’t keep up on the field.
But the best answer might be that today’s mercurial stars have droves of fans, media, family, agents, and even teammates telling them they’re right, even when their behavior is so wrong for the team. The Raiders probably listened to Madden. The Jets probably can’t even hear Rex over the cacophony of praise heaped upon them day after day.
Update: Apparently I’m not the first to draw the comparison between the current incarnation of the Jets and Madden’s Raiders — I guess the author at SI didn’t find the whole on the Jets’ mantle (where the Lombardi trophies should go) quite as striking a difference as I did.
Second Update: Wow.