If Jets coach Rex Ryan was trying to send a message to his unhappy locker room with the trade of Derrick Mason, he may need to try again.
Speaking just two days after Mason was shipped to Houston and ahead of Monday night’s visit by Miami, fellow wide receiver Santonio Holmes fired more shots at the team’s offensive line. Holmes blamed the group for the Jets’ inability to throw the ball deep this year.
"I may be criticized again for saying it, but I think it starts up front," Holmes said Thursday. "The big guys know it. (If) they give Mark (Sanchez) enough time to sit in the pocket and complete passes, I think everything changes. The routes that are being run are short routes. ‘Hey, let’s get the ball out of Mark’s hands quick. Let’s move the ball down the field, and let’s go from there.’ But if you can’t protect the quarterback for four or five seconds, then there’s no point in dropping back seven yards to throw a football when he doesn’t have enough time. So, we pretty much have to roll with the way our offense is rolling right now."
This is the second straight week Holmes has criticized the offensive line. He was asked if anyone from that group has said anything to him about his remarks.
"Those guys, meaning my offensive line, live in a totally different world than we do," Holmes said, seeming to point out how hard their job is. "I can sit here and complain as much as I want to about protecting our quarterback. Sometimes little things as far as getting their toe stepped on, can’t get back in their protection in their drop-back long enough, are some of the things that affect play-calling. Like I said, I can complain all day about it."
The Jets offense has been mostly ineffective. The Jets are 28th in total offense and 21st in passing. The Jets’ longest pass play this season was actually a short pass that running back LaDainian Tomlinson turned into a 74-yard gain. The longest pass to a wide receiver this year was a 30-yarder to Mason, which also had plenty of yards after the catch.
"We’ve done a lot of talking in our meeting rooms about how well things can change if we were to stretch the ball a little bit more down the field," Holmes said. When asked if he personally wants to see more long passes, he said, "If you were in my shoes, what would you think?"
Holmes and Mason were highly critical of the offense following the 34-17 loss to the Ravens two weeks ago. In the following days, Sanchez called the offense together, and they talked about keeping complaints in-house. Mason was traded Tuesday to the Texans, and there was speculation — denied by the Jets — that it had to do with his complaints about the offense.