Everybody, it seems, is ripping the New York Jets -- even their former players.
Ex-quarterback Boomer Esiason, appearing Wednesday morning on a Boston radio station, criticized coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum for putting "a lot of bad guys together in (the) locker room." But he saved his harshest remarks for quarterback Mark Sanchez.
"If you watched Mark Sanchez the last month of the season, he was like a chihuahua standing on Madison Avenue and 36th Street entering the Midtown Tunnel, eyes bigger than you-know-what, and just so shaky," said Esiason, according to quotes that appear on WEEI's web site.
Esiason, reached by ESPNNewYork.com, said the chihuahua line wasn't a reference to Sanchez's Mexican-American heritage. Esiason explained: "I chose a small dog that always looks shaken and has big eyes, and doesn't like big things -- a chihuahua. It's a skittish dog and he's been a skittish player."
Esiason believes the Jets' hierarchy isn't convinced that Sanchez is a franchise quarterback, and he wouldn't be surprised if they explore the possibility of acquiring the Colts' Peyton Manning if the Super Bowl winner and league MVP becomes available.
"If Peyton is able to play and the new general manager (in Indianapolis) and whoever they hire to run that team out there decides to go without Peyton Manning, then I'm sure that the Jets will be sniffing around," said Esiason, a CBS studio analyst who lives in the New York area. "Because that's what the Jets do. They're trying to find their Tom Brady. They're trying to find their Aaron Rodgers. And I don't think, in their mind, they think that they feel like they've found the kid."
Sanchez committed a career-high 26 turnovers, including nine in the final three games -- all Jets losses. The Jets finished 8-8, bitterly disappointing for a team that had Super Bowl aspirations.
Esiason blamed Ryan and Tannenbaum for the locker-room strife, a season-long issue that erupted with the Santonio Holmes fiasco in a season-ending loss in Miami. Holmes jawed with teammates in the huddle and was benched late in the game.
"I think that Rex Ryan's ways have come back to haunt him," Esiason said. "And Mike Tannenbaum ... has a lot of responsibility in this regard, because they have put a lot of bad guys together in this locker room. There's a good core of players for the New York Jets. But unfortunately, all it takes is one guy. And Rex Ryan giving Santonio Holmes the captain's 'C' on the chest was an absolute embarrassment. It's a slap in the face of all the good guys in that locker room."
Esiason said the Jets have a "major problem" with Holmes because of the guaranteed money he's owed -- $7.75 million, which becomes $15.25 million if he's on the roster after Feb. 8.
"They can't cut him, I don't think. And I don't think anybody's going to want to trade for him," Esiason said. "So, they've got themselves a handful."
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.