- Posted: 2:37 PM, July 12, 2012
Tomlinson, who retired recently after spending the final two years of his career with the Jets, has concerns with how Santonio Holmes will handle new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s run-heavy attack.
“Santonio was brought there to be the No. 1 receiver and catch a lot of balls through the passing game and if you are a team that’s not going to throw the ball very much that’s going to make for an unhappy receiver, right?” Tomlinson said on Rich Eisen’s Podcast for NFL Network. “So, if Week 6 they haven’t thrown the ball more than 15 times a game and Santonio is not getting his catches you may hear some things: him speaking out, him saying things that may rub some teammates the wrong way. It could very well happen, but I hope Santonio learned from last year and that’s all you can really do. You have to learn from your previous mistakes.”
After last season, Tomlinson called the Jets locker room “as bad as I've been around” on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.” He did not call out Holmes by name, but most put the outspoken receiver at the center of the controversy thanks to a poor relationship with Sanchez. Holmes had also called out the offensive line earlier in the season for not giving Sanchez enough time.
“Certain things you have to keep in-house that you do not say to the media,” Tomlinson said. “Go say it to the head coach, go have a one-on-one with your quarterback, offensive coordinator, whoever it may be. But there are certain things that you can’t let out to the media because it’s going to cause too much friction in the locker room, between two of your top players. It’s just not the right thing to do.”
As for the Sanchez-Tebow situation, Tomlinson is confident it can work.
“Tebow will definitely be a part of the first 15 plays because he’s a guy you’re going to have to get on the field,” the future Hall of Famer said. “He makes play so coaches always want to get the guys who make plays on the field. So, he’s going to be part of the first 15, so Mark has to understand that this is a role that Tebow plays every single game.
“Every single game he’s going to get his plays, so Mark has to prepare himself to handle that situation the right way, continue to be the quarterback the Jets need him to be. Whenever the Jets need him to step up and make a play through the passing game, make that play. Prove to his teammates that he’s their quarterback and we won’t have that issue where ‘Are they going to pull Mark and put Tebow in?’ You won’t have that situation.”
Unless Tebow performs the late-game heroics that made him the most popular enigma in football.
“If that happens it’s definitely going to create a controversy,” Tomlinson said. “Let’s say through Week 6, Tebow has a hand in winning two or three of those games that’s the worst thing I think that the Jets could ask for because the media is going to eat it up and now you are really going to have a quarterback controversy. Who should be the Jets quarterback, that’s going to be the question.”
Tomlinson said he believes the turmoil that Sanchez dealt with last year will help him deal with Tebow’s arrival. Thus far, the two have said all the right things in the media and are currently working out together at Jets West in California — a yearly workout session that Sanchez organizes for teammates.
“I think he’s old enough now to handle it, I really do because he’s been through some things his first few years in the league to handle a situation like this now,” Tomlinson said of Sanchez, who took the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship games his first two years in the league.
“I think he can handle it, I really do. I think the Jets are smart enough to understand how to handle Sanchez, how to talk to him. There’s certain times where you have to go up to your quarterback, make him feel good even through the rough times. I think they know how to do that to keep Mark focused and understanding that this is all about the team, and that’s one thing that Rex does well: making every one buy into a team concept.”