FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Braylon Edwards appeared on SNY’s "SportsNite" on Thursday and had plenty of things to say about his old team. A lot of it wasn’t good. He questioned the New York Jets' leadership in the locker room and coach Rex Ryan’s ability to improvise on defensive play calling.
"I see a team in shambles," Edwards said, and that was just for starters.
After Ryan heard a few questions about comments from the former Jets wide receiver and member of the Flight Boys with Santonio Holmes, he laughed.
"What was Braylon doing? Trying to get a full-time gig or something?" Ryan said.
Edwards started by asking if Ryan and general manager John Idzik could work together, and then questioned Idzik’s thrifty decisions with the roster. Receiver Eric Decker was a good No. 2 receiver, Edwards said, and then he called out some of his former teammates.
"The locker room isn’t the same as four years ago," Edwards said on SNY. "You have a couple of the players there, but the mentality just isn’t there. There are only a couple players there -- you have Nick Mangold, you have David Harris, you have D'Brickashaw Ferguson -- and I don’t know if they feel, if those guys even still feel that they can still get back to what they once were, because I feel like if they could, then it would’ve already happened. So, I think the leadership role is gone because they’re confused, not necessarily because they’re not leaders.”
Not surprisingly, Harris didn’t agree with Edwards, whose leadership abilities were not exemplified when he was arrested in September of 2010 on charges of driving while intoxicated with two Jets teammates in the vehicle.
"Braylon’s not here in this locker room, so he wouldn’t know what’s going on this year," Harris said. “But Braylon is a good friend of mine so I have nothing to say to that."
Linebacker Calvin Pace said the issue that Edwards points to isn’t something exclusive to the Jets.
"It’s a different dynamic, a lot younger group," Pace said. "Where a lot of stuff never had to be said because we were older, now you kind of got to teach guys how to be professionals. It’s the way of the league now, it’s not just us. A youth movement. It’s affecting teams I think. You don’t have the number of vets."
Second-year defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson vouched for the Jets' veteran players.
"I think we have excellent leadership -- guys who also make plays and do everything right off the field," Richardson said. "They take control when needed or say something that needs to be said, and it’s up to us -- the other guys, the chain of command -- to get it done. It hasn’t happened for us, and you can only say so much you need to produce."
Ryan backed his players, as well.
"Have things changed a little bit? Yeah, of course they have," Ryan said. "I like our locker room, guys care about each other, so I like our locker room."
Where the coach bristled was Edwards’ saying that Ryan’s "ego" got in the way of changing defensive schemes.
"It’s player over scheme so we’ll always do what maxes our abilities, the talent of our players," Ryan said. "Always have. I can agree with Braylon about a lot of things, but I’m 100 percent in disagreement with this one."
Ultimately, even Pace disagreed with Edwards. He might have a point on how the nature of locker room leadership has changed, but that isn’t what’s launched the Jets toward a 1-4 start.
"Our problem is just not executing," Pace said. "You can say it however you want to explain it, but young or old team we’re just not executing, and that’s killing us."