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Are the Jets still 'all in'?

New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson (86)

New York Jets wide receiver David Nelson (86) prior to the Detroit Lions at New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday Sept. 28, 2014. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

The Jets set out this offseason with a new mind-set and a new mantra: "All in. All the time."

But the leaking that Geno Smith missed a team meeting Oct. 4 in San Diego raised eyebrows in the locker room.

Could it be that someone at One Jets Drive isn't "all in"?

"We can't say we're being all together and then the next minute, as soon as we turn our back, somebody's saying something like that," David Nelson said, in reference to the media's learning that Smith missed a team meeting the night before a 31-0 loss to the Chargers on Oct. 5.

Smith later told reporters it was an "honest mistake" caused by confusion over a three-hour time change.

"That has been addressed -- individually within our units and as a team," Nelson said of keeping things in-house going forward.

Leaked information -- particularly material that paints individual players and coaches in a bad light -- often can be the first sign of fractures within an organization. Given the Jets' five consecutive losses and 1-5 record, no one would be surprised if dissension arose in Rex Ryan's locker room.

But Nelson said the team has "come together a few times" since Sunday's 31-17 loss to the Broncos at MetLife Stadium.

"The leadership isn't an issue," Nelson said. "Guys are stepping up and being vocal about their feelings, frustrations, disappointments and getting it all out in the air. And we've grown closer because of that. So we're a stronger team because of the situations, because of the trials that we're going through. We've just got to put wins together."

Center Nick Mangold, a nine-year veteran, said his message to teammates always has been the same: "If you have something to say, you can either tell any of us or you put your name to it."

Although the players have preached the importance of having an open-forum atmosphere in their meeting rooms, they're not 100 percent sure the leak about their starting quarterback came from inside their locker room.

"It could be anybody," Mangold said. "Shoot, it could be the cleaning guy, for all you know."

Defensive back Antonio Allen said that at the time he was unaware Smith missed the team meeting.

"I don't even know who put it out, man. It was crazy," Allen said. "We've got to protect each other at the end of the day. I didn't even realize he missed the meeting, but it should stay in the locker room. It shouldn't even get out to you guys."

Said Nelson: "It could've been someone from the front office. If that's the case, then we have no control over that.

"But if it is a player, then this is a grown-man business. If you're going to go to the media like that, then you need to come and say it to the player's face or to the team as a whole. And then we can address it. It's not going to hurt anybody's feelings."

Although Ryan quickly downplayed Smith's absence at the meeting, some fans and football pundits took issue with the quarterback's avoidable error. It came on the heels of Smith's being fined $12,000 for cursing at a heckling fan and making headlines for bristling at the suggestion his backup, Michael Vick, should play an entire quarter to "spark" the offense.

But Allen said he doesn't believe this leak is a sign that players aren't all in.

"We're all tight-knit," he said. "We've got good chemistry. And we've had that since OTAs. We've just got to keep fighting and grinding."

Nelson agreed.

"I couldn't even sit here and say the person who did it did it by wrong intentions," he said. "Sometimes guys will give information to a reporter because they want the reporter to be nice to them -- I've seen that happen many times.

"But I have to go ahead and just trust that it wasn't any one of our guys. 'Cause I truly believe we're going to turn this thing around. And I want to know that the guys who are there with me on the podium, wherever we are, or in the locker room when we win three straight, the guys that I'm celebrating with are also the guys who had my back when we were going through difficult times."

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