Not long after he made reference to "cracks" within the Jets' offense, Derrick Mason was shipped out of town, traded to the Texans for essentially nothing.
So with the fallout from Sunday's loss in which some of Santonio Holmes' teammates thought he quit, and with backup quarterback Greg McElroy's recent assertion of a "corrupt mind-set" in a locker room with "selfish individuals," Mason believes he was unfairly portrayed as the problem child during his five games with the Jets.
"I was the scapegoat in all of this, and I'm OK with it," the veteran wide receiver said in an interview on Sirius XM Radio on Friday. "I told Rex Ryan the same thing when they decided to let me go and trade me to Houston. I told him I thought it was unfair. But it's OK, I'm good with it.
"I just felt I was the scapegoat. If I was the problem, then they would have been OK when they let me go."
"If he can't play better than what he did last year, it's going to be hard for them to do it," Mason said. "He needs to play much better than what he has been playing. I'm not a quarterback specialist, so I can't say whether he is the franchise quarterback or not. But judging by the way he's played the last three seasons, that window is closing on him to be that franchise quarterback and it's closing very quickly."
Mason doesn't think Ryan will change his ways anytime soon. He expects him to continue his bold talk even after the Jets (8-8) not only failed to make good on his Super Bowl chatter but didn't even reach the playoffs. He knows Ryan better than that.
"Everybody loves a guy that can go out and be brash, and talk and say what he's going to do, and then go out and do it," Mason said on ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd Show. "Now, if you can't go out there and do all of these things that you are saying, then people get tired of it. Either you start winning games or shut up.
"I guess it's kind of like Frank Sinatra. He's going to do it his way, and that's the way he's been doing it. Win or lose, he's going to continue to talk. That's his personality. I just think this year, he didn't back it up. But once you start it, you can't stop it."
Notes & quotes: Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer interviewed with the Jaguars for their head-coaching position Friday. The Jets said all week that they plan to bring him back with the same title unless he lands a head-coaching gig . . . CB Darrelle Revis was named to the All-Pro team for the third straight season, receiving 48 of a possible 50 votes . . . In the aftermath of Wednesday's comments, McElroy backed out of previously scheduled appearances on some of ESPN's shows Friday.