Surreal scene as Jets clean lockers, changes loom

By Dennis Waszak Jr.

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 2 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Holmes and guard Brandon Moore went back and forth earlier this season when the receiver criticized the offensive line for not protecting Sanchez or giving him enough time to throw long passes. Moore said that kind of talk could have "a fracturing effect" — and it appears he was right.

"There's a lot of reasons we didn't have the kind of season we wanted, and chemistry can go down on that list," Moore said.

He declined to discuss whether a team could accept a player who was deemed by some to have "quit" back next season.

"I don't really have anything to say about 10," Moore said, referring to Holmes by his jersey number.

Ryan said there are "a lot of positive things about Santonio," but acknowledged that there are also things that need to be improved and believes Holmes will return next season. Still, most players seemed to think there would be plenty of changes this offseason.

They could start with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who has been criticized all year for failing to develop Sanchez and run an effective and consistent offense, which finished 25th overall.

Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum reiterated that they expect Schottenheimer to return next season — unless he's hired as a head coach elsewhere. Tannenbaum, who said Schottenheimer has done "a really credible job," confirmed that New York gave Jacksonville permission to speak to the 38-year-old coordinator for the Jaguars' head coaching vacancy.

"I think the criticism specifically about Brian," Ryan said, "I believe, is unfair."

Sanchez has also been the subject of lots of criticism as he didn't progress in his third year as many had hoped, but Tannenbaum said he'll be the starting quarterback next season.

"I think Mark's work speaks for itself," Tannenbaum said. "I think it's more good than bad and far from perfect. It has to be more consistent and I think if Mark was sitting right here he would be the first one to tell you."

That vote of confidence came despite Sanchez throwing three interceptions against the Dolphins and doing little to cement his role as the Jets' long-term answer at quarterback. He threw a career-high 26 touchdown passes, but seven of his 18 interceptions came in the last three games — all losses.

"My job is to come back a better quarterback, a better leader," said Sanchez, who was unsure if he'd need further tests on his neck and right shoulder which bothered him late in the season.

The Jets will also have several major decisions to make on potential free agents, including Plaxico Burress, LaDainian Tomlinson, Jim Leonhard and Sione Pouha.

"My job is to build a team," Ryan said. "For whatever reason, I don't think we were as close as a football team as we were the first two years and now we are sitting on the outside looking in. We're watching other teams in playoff games that we think we should be in. And I think that's painful, beyond belief."

Notes: Tannenbaum said the team will speak with offensive line coach Bill Callahan over the next few days about returning. His contract is up after this season, but Tannenbaum said "we hope to have him back." ... Slauson said he'll have an MRI exam on one of his shoulders Tuesday to check out the nature of an injury that initially occurred late last season.

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