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Cohen's Corner: Jets players taking on fans is a big mistake

It appears the Jets season now has hit a brand new low.

Days after the Jets survived a sure defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, Jets safety Jim Leonhard and head coach Rex Ryan felt it was necessary to rip Jets fans for booing quarterback Mark Sanchez during the quarterback's lack-luster performance on Sunday.

First it was Leonhard, who, on his weekly spot on WFAN's Beningo & Roberts show, blasted Jets fans for booing the struggling QB, stating: “I think, probably for one of the first times, I was kind of disappointed. Our starting quarterback gets booed in introductions. As players, you kind of turn to each other and say, "You know what? I guess we’re in this one today by ourselves. We can’t rely on the crowd to give us that energy because it’s already started off on a bad note."

Leonhard was apparently upset that Jets fans loudly booed Sanchez when he was introduced in pre-game and throughout the contest as Sanchez misfired with overthrows and underthrows to his receivers.

Then Ryan went after the fans during his Tuesday press conference saying: “Until he wins the whole thing, he’s going to be criticized just like I’m going to be criticized. That’s fine. It comes with the territory, but he did throw four touchdowns. That’s not all bad. Mark Sanchez is not our problem. He’s one of the strengths of our team.”

This is a terrible signal by the Jets. To start taking it out on the fans is a losing proposition. You don't go to the masses against the fans of New York City and expect to win the fight. The Jets have a lot of problems, and yes, it does start with the play of the quarterback and this offense. It was one of the worst performances by a quarterback who threw four touchdowns but never looked comfortable in the game. The fact the Jets won had more to do with the fact the Bills blew it.

Plus, fans are growing pretty tired of watching Sanchez's mediocre play. This is a guy who didn't light the NFL on fire his first two years and was really a complementary piece to a great football team with a solid defense and good running game. Now that the Jets don't have that great D and running attack, it's on the kid to deliver, and he has not. He is still the same mediocre quarterback who completes 50 percent of his passes, has a quarterback rating of around 70, and is good for a bad intercpetion every game. This is not progress; this is not regression; this is who Sanchez is, and the fans know it, but the Jets don't want to recognize it.

More important, fans have every right to boo this team. From the owner on down to the coach and players, they have talked and talked and talked about how great this team would be. They asked fans to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars in PSL's just to remain in the building, and even kicked out long time, die-hard season ticket holders who couldn't afford the Jets' steep ticket/concession/parking fees in the new building. Jets fans have every right to be angry.

The Jets have become pretty edgy this year whenever they get challenged or called out. Earlier this year, Joe Namath blasted the Jets on several occasions, and it led to several Jets players telling Namath off, even going so far as to say they wanted nothing to do with him! Even Rex Ryan said that Namath needed to mind his own business since he is not a part of the organization.

Then, in mid-October, Darrelle Revis got into a verbal exchange with WFAN's Mike Francesa when Mike tried to challenge Revis about a pass interference call in a game against the Dolphins. Revis grew so upset that he was instructed by Jets PR to hang up on Francesa.

If the Jets think that picking a fight with fans and the media will earn them respect, they can forget it. Whenever a team picks a fight with the fans and media in this town, it is usually a sign that the end is near. I am not saying heads will roll this year, but the seats will be getting red hot in the off-season and into 2012 if this team does indeed miss the playoffs.

The Jets better shut up and play ball because this is one fight they cannot win.
We'll discuss this issue and more, Friday on Open Mike, live from 2-4 pm on MTR Call us at 609-910-0687!! & Check out the blog!


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