LaDainian Tomlinson can't say for sure where the recent strain of anonymous Mark Sanchez criticism spawned from, but his money is on the Jets' gaggle of mouthy wideouts.
The veteran running back didn't refer to Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress by name, but it was implied, because -- Jeremy Kerley? Not exactly a back-page-of-the-tabloids fire starter.
"I think some things that happened in the locker room between (Sanchez) and the receivers, I think that's where this is coming from -- some of the disconnects that happened throughout the year, maybe some of the arguments you guys heard about throughout the year," Tomlinson said on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown," via ESPN New York.
Tomlinson defended Sanchez's work ethic after the quarterback was blasted as "lazy and content" in a New York Daily News story that cited unnamed players and team sources.
"Listen, there are a lot of things you can say about Mark Sanchez, but to call him lazy is a bit much," Tomlinson said. "This is a guy that has worked very hard off the field ... in the film room, I've seen it ... the weight room, putting in extra time with the coaches early in the morning ... after practice, when everybody is gone, putting in time. So he's not lazy."
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Jets owner Woody Johnson, coach Rex Ryan and a collection of teammates have publicly defended Sanchez and called out the phantom critics as defying team code, but one point Tomlinson did agree on is that New York's young quarterback needs to compete for his role, like most NFL players, in order to blossom.
"Mark hasn't had that competition to push him," said Tomlinson, who will choose between retirement and testing the free-agent waters this offseason. "I do think he'll be a better player if he has some competition, somebody to push him."
In short time, the Jets have switched out offensive coordinators and begun to clean up the wreckage of a season that spun out of orbit early and often this season. Whether or not Sanchez remains implanted as starting quarterback, the notion that he's lost the entire locker room is premature.