Derrick Mason knows a little about the Jets' environment, having played the season's first five games before he was quickly shipped off to Houston.
Mason was sent packing not long after his comments about there being some "cracks" within the Jets' offense in the aftermath of their Week 4 pounding in Baltimore. But the veteran wide receiver said he didn't witnesses a corrupt locker room like backup quarterback Greg McElroy described in a radio interview earlier this week.
"It wasn’t as bad when I left," Mason said on ESPN Radio's "The Colin Cowherd Show." "You could see things started to heat up and the temperature started to rise a little bit, because when I was there we were on a three-game losing streak. And when you are losing, everybody wants to chime in and point the finger and say what’s wrong, and what’s not wrong.
"We should be doing this and we should be doing that. It wasn't as bad as it probably was at the end of the season, but you could see the temperature started to rise in that locker room because they were frustrated. This is a team that after going to two AFC Championship games, a lot of people picked to go to the Super Bowl. We were not playing the way we were capable of playing, and a lot of guys were frustrated."
Mason said the Jets didn't have enough vocal leaders when he was here.
"The offensive linemen stood up and they spoke to the team, Mark [Sanchez] did it as well," Mason said. "But some of the other guys, the older veterans, they needed to step up and try to right that ship and I don’t think it happened on a consistent basis. Sometimes it's hard when you're losing because everybody is trying to figure things out and everybody is [ticked]."
Mason doesn't think it's going to be difficult for McElroy to be accepted back into the team after his critical comments on Wednesday, telling a Birmingham, Al. radio station the Jets' locker room was "corrupt" and filled with "selfish individuals."
"It shouldn’t be because he spoke the truth, he spoke what was on his mind," Mason said. "If guys respect him, it shouldn’t be. But if it kind of irked a nerve here or there and they felt Greg was talking to them, it might be hard for that person to accept it if indeed they were the individual that was being selfish. Now, if you were not a selfish guy, you are not going to think two seconds about it. You are going to say, 'Yeah, the guy is right. Somebody needed to step up and say it."
Rex Ryan sure says a lot and Mason was asked if Ryan's bravado has run its course after an empty season.
"When you are not winning, yeah it runs its course," Mason said. "But when you are winning, like they were two years ago and when they went to the AFC Championship two years in a row, then hey, everybody loves it because 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.
"People deep down love that because he was able to back it up. 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. Basically, that's how it was. But I love Coach Rex. He's a good guy, I think he’s a good coach. 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."