Jets' team unity will be tested

October, 29, 2012
10/29/12
4:19
PM ET
The coming weeks probably will be tough on the Jets' locker room. The quarterback controversy is intensifying, and the bonds between offense and defense will be tested. After Sunday's embarrassing loss, CB Antonio Cromartie was mildly critical of the offensive performance.

"We learned last year that pointing fingers and being disgruntled doesn't help anybody," C Nick Mangold said Monday, alluding to last season's locker-room turmoil.

The players have been barraged for seven months with Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow questions, and they won't go away, especially now with Sanchez's job security a hot topic.

"We’ve done a pretty good job of handling outside influences," Mangold said. "We have to play better. If we play better as an offense, that will quiet it down a little bit. That’s the nature of having Tim around. He's got quite the following. It's a great thing he has going for him. At end of the day, we have to do better as an offense on the field."

Like Mangold, NT Sione Po'uha is a team leader. He believes the locker room can withstand the scrutiny, although it's interesting to note that Po'uha used the word "distraction" when describing the quarterback situation.

"We've been handling those distractions since the offseason, since the transaction was made," he said. "The question has been asked of us a million times, the quarterback situation. At the same time, I honestly believe, wholeheartedly, 100 percent that Rex and the staff will put the best people out there and put us in the best situations to help us win games."

Po'uha downplayed Cromartie's comments, claiming everything will be OK if each player worries about his own responsibilities. We'll see.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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