The offense hadn't exactly started off fast in 2011, with the Jets ranking last in the league with 26 of their drives ending in three-and-outs. The bottled up frustrations, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, then exploded when wideout and captain Santonio Holmesdumped the blame on his offensive linemen.
"I may be criticized for saying it, but it starts up front," Holmes said. "The big guys know it. If they give Mark (Sanchez) enough time to sit in the pocket and complete passes, I think everything changes."
"I've never seen a captain do that," he said. "That's not leading. That's not being a leader. It actually fragments the locker room. It's not productive."
It seemed a once promising season in New York was about to unravel in embarrassing fashion.
The answers surfaced during Friday's open locker room.
The tone was confident and positive. Right tackle Wayne Hunter told me, "The huddle finally feels comfortable." He admitted, however, that the past couple of weeks had been difficult and unharmonious.
Hunter further noted that Holmes actually reached out to the offensive line on a number of occasions, a gesture that was extremely well-received. He finished by telling me that now there was a real sense of togetherness in the locker room.
This bodes very well for a team facing a shortened week and beat-up players, in addition to a Chargers squad entering Sunday fresh off of its bye week.
Safety Eric Smith told me that Wednesday's workout particularly was difficult coming off the Monday night win. Hunter piggy-backed that sentiment, saying that it has been a tough week physically, and the key to success stemmed from their ability to "mentally reset."
Center Nick Mangold (ankle) was a limited participant in practice Friday, while coach Rex Ryan said Mangold is expected to play despite his questionable status. The bigger question is defensive end Mike DeVito, who rolled up his knee during practice this week. While an MRI exam revealed no structural damage, Ryan declared that he will likely be a game-time decision on Sunday. Kenrick Ellis will get the start, if DeVito cannot go.
Wide receiver Logan Payne (wrist) and cornerback Isaiah Trufant (hamstring) have both been ruled out.