- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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As long as there is a radio row at the Super Bowl, there will be former Jets stepping up to critique the season. It happened again Thursday as LaDainian Tomlinson spoke to Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
Tomlinson, a former Jets running back, said the team has failed to develop quarterback Mark Sanchez while Rex Ryan was so focused on the defense.
"One of the biggest mistakes I felt like the Jets made, even before I got there, is not keeping Chad Pennington when they drafted Mark Sanchez," Tomlinson said. "When you draft a young guy like Mark Sanchez out of USC, that has only played in 12 college football games, you have to have a veteran to teach this guy how to play the position. A guy to take him in the film room and say, 'This is what you look for.' And then take him on the practice field and say, 'This is how you practice, this is how you perform on Sundays.'
"They just kind of threw him out there, a young kid, threw him out there and really never developed him."
Of course it was Brett Favre, not Pennington, who was last under center before the Jets drafted Sanchez. But that oversight didn't stop Tomlinson from pushing on.
"Here's the thing: They have been trying to get Mark Sanchez to be the guy," Tomlinson said, "to be a Tom Brady, Peyton Manning type of quarterback. And it hasn't worked out. Not to say that you can't win with Mark Sanchez, but you’d better have a good running game and you better have a dominant defense if you're going to win with this guy."
Tomlinson played for two season with the Jets, including the team's second trip to the AFC Championship Game in 2010.