Former Jets right tackle Damien Woody believes the Jets need to bring in a veteran quarterback to compete with Mark Sanchez to see if the third-year quarterback is good enough to lead this team well into the future. Woody also accused the Jets of "babying" Sanchez by not publicly criticizing him and coddling him with the media.
"When you look at the three years [with Sanchez], he's had a lot of reall good things around him," said Woody, who was at the Giants' training facility doing some work for ESPN in his new job as a television analyst. "He’s had a really good offensive line for two out of the three years, a really good defense, the special teams have been good. He’s had a lot of luxuries that have played into his favor. This is the first year that things have broken down, and the organization expected him to carry the load more and it didn’t happen."
Woody believes the Jets need to "give him one more year to see if this guy can be the future and if it doesn’t happen, it’s time to look in another direction."
He also thinks the Jets were too reluctant to openly criticize Sanchez, even when his poor play may have warranted criticism.
"You never hear any type of criticism," he said. "Look, we all watch the games. We all see the obvious. Sometimes you just see people throwing sstatistics out there when we know. C'mon, the eyes don't like. Everybody watches games. You can see when someone’s playing well and someone’s not playing well. You can’t just throw statistics out there and cover up what the obvious is that everyone knows."
Woody believes the organization also shields Sanchez from the media more than other players.
"The organization really tries to baby him and protect him as far as the media is concerned," he said. "When you’re playing quarterback in New York, you have to have tough skin and have to be able to stand up to the criticism. When things are going great, you’re going to be a god in this city. But when things aren’t going well, you still have to be able to man up and take it all. So I think the organization can do a better job ofletting the man be a man and stand up and take the bullets like all the other players."
Woody said the Jets' 8-8 season, which included a three-game losing streak at the end of the season that knocked them out of the playoffs, has led to the kind of infighting that only got worse as a result of Rex Ryan's open environment.
"I think when you go 8-8 and you miss the playoffs and you have an open policy to allow your players to speak their minds, this is what happens," he said. "I’m not saying Rex’s position is wrong, but this is the flip side. When you’ve had success, it’s great. But when it’s not going well, this is what happens and now you’re seeing the ugly side to it."
Woody said a report in the Daily News that quoted unnamed players criticizing Sanchez for his work ethic was a reflection of the problems inside the locker room, and he advised his former teammates to hold their tongues. Even so, he said comments critical of Sanchez might cause the quarterback problems in the locker room moving forward.
"If you’re spending all this time with guys talking behind your back, as a player it gives you a bad feeling that I don’t want to be around these type of guys," he said. "It goes back to chemistry. When you don’t have that chemistry, things aren’t going to play well on the football field. Repairing that is up to Rex and if they want to repair it.. it’s up to the guys in that locker room, but it’s not going to be easy. There’s a lot of stuff going on. My advice to guys is to be quiet and go about enjoying your off-season and get refreshed. There’s no need to keep opening old wounds. You just have to move on and get ready for the 2012 season."