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Woody confident Sanchez and Holmes can co-exist

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, right, greets

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, right, greets fans at a Jets pep rally in Times Square. (Jan. 21, 2010) Credit: AP

Woody Johnson disagrees with LaDainian Tomlinson's opinion that the Jets' had some serious chemistry issues in their locker room.

"I didn’t feel a toxicity in the locker room," the Jets owner said this afternoon in a meeting with beat writers, his first extensive interview since the season ended. "I hear what LaDainian [is saying]. I respect LaDainian at the highest level, but I don’t think the whole locker room was toxic. I think there were clearly a few players that had conflicts.

"You’ve got 53 individuals in that locker room and at any given time, there are going to be arguments and altercations and so on. Would you love to have total harmony? Maybe. But maybe it’s good to have a little bit of disharmony also."

The Jets certainly had their share of disharmony this season, something that's been at the forefront over these last three weeks since their season-ending defeat in Miami. Santonio Holmes quit on the team in their season finale and there's a fued between the wide receiver  

Asked Holmes will be back, Johnson said: "He will."

Still, he did admit there are reasons to worry that the two willl be able to co-exist.

"Absolutely I’m concerned," Johnson said. "But I’m confident that it can be. They’ve won a lot of games together and one is good for the other. Santonio makes the quarterback a lot better and vice versa. So they have a good reason to iron this thing out and I think they can do it."

Johnson said the decision to keep Holmes, who signed a five-year,$45 million in training camp, has nothing to do with the massive salary cap hit the Jets would take if they cut him loose. 

"No, he may be one of the best players we’ve ever had here," he said. "I think you could look at his talent level as extraordinary talented."

Johnson also threw his support behind his franchise quarterback.

"I have a lot of confidence in Mark Sanchez," Johnson said. "He can do everything that you want a quarterback to do and when he has the confidence, which I think he’ll have this year, I really do. He’s had a lot of success in his life and this is probably one of the first years where he’s experienced the New York way, where he hasn’t had as much success as he’s had.

"He came out strong in his first year and second year. My feeling is that Mark is the kind of guy that will learn from this and get better. We are going to try to make the offense maybe a little bit more suitable to what Mark’s development is."

Asked if he's 100 percent certain, Sanchez will be the starter Johnson said: "Well, there’s no such thing as 100 percent. But barring whatever, yes."

However, he didn't rule out exploring potential avenues, such as looking into bringing Peyton Manning to town. Johnson also said Sanchez would benefit from having a veteran quarterback "breathe down his neck."

"My job is to take this team to the very top level and I’ve said that from the beginning," Johnson said. "I have a lot of confidence we ca do it. We are going to look at everything. We are going to look at every possibility and that’s what you want us to do."

As for Rex Ryan saying he didn't have a true pulse of the team, Johnson isn't so sure that's necessarily the case. 

"I’m not sure what he meant by that, that he didn’t have the pulse of the locker room," Johnson said. "The reason he’s a good team builder. I think he does have this inner personal ability to notice what’s going on. So knowing Rex, he must’ve said it for something else. But I think he knew what was going on.

"Now whether you have a way to fix it … It’s like fixing your golf swing in the middle of a golf tournament. Some things you can only change in the offseason, You can try to manage it as best as possible, but these situations might have been difficult for anybody to deal with."

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