FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- This time, Joe Namath spared Rex Ryan. Instead of blaming the New York Jets' coach for the latest loss, as he did last week, he went after Santonio Holmes, Vladimir Ducasse, offensive-line coach Bill Callahan and the team's personnel department.
The Jets' legendary quarterback was critical of Holmes, who called out the offensive line and Mark Sanchez after the team's 34-17 loss Sunday night to the Baltimore Ravens. Namath said Holmes' comments could rip apart the locker room.
"That was a mistake, it surely was," Namath said Monday afternoon on ESPN New York 1050's "The Michael Kay Show." "For Holmes, as a captain, to go outside, to the media, and start pointing fingers. ... I mean, he's right about the ball getting out late to him (on the interception), and he's right about the offensive line, but that can create a problem in the locker room. ... That divisiveness can bury a team. They've got to correct that right away."
After the game, Holmes said the problem "starts up front with the big guys," adding that Sanchez "has to do a better job of making reads and getting the ball where he needs to, so his playmakers can make plays." He said Sanchez made a late throw on Lardarius Webb's interception, which was returned 73 yards for a touchdown.
Namath took issue with the decision to bench rookie center Colin Baxter for three series in the second quarter, putting the seldom-used Ducasse at left guard and moving left guard Matt Slauson to center. Broadway Joe said the Jets "panicked a little bit," saying that Baxter shouldn't have been blamed for the two fumbled snaps.
Without naming names, Namath ripped the personnel department for using a second-round pick on Ducasse, who has been a disappointment. He said the front office has failed to provide quality depth on the offensive line, which took a hit with the loss of All-Pro center Nick Mangold (sprained ankle).
"Right now, it's scary," Namath said of the line. "There's no depth, no quality depth. Putting Ducasse in the game, and moving Slauson over in the game, was a real reach, man. You get to look at these players every day in practice. I know coach Bill Callahan ... is a heck of a coach, but come on, who are we trying to convince that these players are quality?"
"I'm not sure what's going on there," said Namath, continuing his rant. "We picked some poor players and we're not owning up to it. That's what it amounts to. You've got guys on the roster who have been picked and you keep trying to say, 'OK, they're going to work out.' Well, guess what? We tried that with (Vernon) Gholston and it didn't work out.
"You have to (say), 'Hey, I made a bad pick, a bad selection,' and move on. The Jets didn't do that and it's a little late for the season to get it righted."
Said Slauson about Namath's criticism: "We don't care one bit what Joe Namath has to say. He means nothing to us."
Namath refused to write off the season, claiming the Jets still are in the hunt at 2-2. But he didn't sound optimistic about the upcoming game, saying, "It looks like things are going to be very difficult going into New England next week."
The Hall-of-Fame quarterback defended Sanchez, saying Sunday night wasn't his fault.
"There isn't a quarterback playing this game who is going to be big time if he doesn't have help on that line of scrimmage," Namath said. "It starts up front and there's a major problem for the Jets right now going into next week."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.