Big news in Baltimore Wednesday: The fallout from Ed Reed's criticism of QB Joe Flacco. This is an issue that hits close to home for the Jets.
This is part of what Reed said Tuesday in an interview with SiriusXM NFL radio, discussing the performance of the offense in the Ravens' divisional playoff win over the Texans: "The offensive line has to block better. You know, they have to communicate better, have to pick up blocks [and] Joe's gotta get the ball out of his hand."
This is what Jets WR Santonio Holmes said on the night of Oct. 2, when QB Mark Sanchez was blitzed by the Ravens' defense: "It starts up front with the big guys. They’ve got to do a better job of protecting Mark and Mark has to do a better job of making reads and getting the ball where he needs to, so his playmakers can make plays."
Pretty similar quotes, right?
Holmes' remarks annoyed some of his teammates, the line in particular, and fueled the bad chemistry that permeated the locker room and eventually erupted in ugly fashion. You have to wonder if Reed's comments will have the same impact. On Wednesday, I asked ESPN analyst Steve Young to share his thoughts. He believes Reed's rip won't have a negative effect.
"He’s one of the voices in a locker room that self-polices," Young said on a media conference call.
I mentioned Holmes' comments and how they divided the locker room. Young doesn't see that happening because of Reed's stature on the Ravens. Better Reed, he said, "than some goofball saying something in the press that creates division, and no one trusts the source and thinks the guy is a goofball for saying it … Pretty soon the locker room is just shot ... That's not the situation here."
Young didn't say if he considers Holmes a "goofball," but you can make your own judgment.
Is there a double standard here? It's an interesting topic. Folks like Young think Reed has a right to speak his mind because he's a Hall of Fame-bound player, but I'd be willing to bet his remarks chafed some teammates. Unlike Holmes, who evidently felt he had the right because he was named a captain, Reed will get away with it.
But that doesn't make it right.