Ex-New York Jet turned NFL television analyst Kris Jenkins criticized his former team on Wednesday, calling the Jets' locker room "catty" and saying it only got that way because the team cut all its veteran leadership before the start of the season.
"Now, these are the players who are going to have the heart and the passion to get things in order when things don't work," Jenkins, referring to himself, Damien Woody and Shaun Ellis, who were all let go by the Jets in the offseason, said during his appearance on ESPN 1050's "The Mike Lupica Show."
"These are the guys that set the tempo in your training camps. These are gonna be the guys that make things go accordingly to plan," Jenkins said. "Now, they just erased that off their team. Now you have guys that, yeah, they're good, they can play their positions, but they don't have the experience to take on those responsibilities, so what happens? You get a catty locker room."
Last week, wide receiver Santonio Holmes ripped the Jets' offensive line for not giving quarterback Mark Sanchez enough time in the pocket and guard Brandon Moore responded harshly to Holmes' comments in the media. The two served as team captains before Monday night's underwhelming performance -- a 24-6 victory over the lowly Miami Dolphins that evened the team's record at 3-3 and snapped a three-game losing skid.
After the game, Jets coach Rex Ryan said the team had moved on from all the turmoil, but Jenkins doesn't necessarily believe it, because he doesn't think the Jets have enough leadership. And it may not change because of what Jenkins calls "the new culture of football," where most players care more about the spotlight than getting better.
"New York City as a whole is a hard place to play football and be successful," Jenkins said. "Most of these guys don't understand that the thing that is ailing them is they wanna be seen too much. That's the new culture of football. Everybody gets paid. Everyone sees the Ray Lewises and all the guys get all this notoriety and things like that.
"They're not trying to put the hard work in to become a leader inside-out. They just want it on the outside and for everyone to see them for how special they are. The thing I had a personal issue with when I was there was guys trying to copyright things and be known for what they're saying and this show and that show."
Jenkins believes players should be "150 percent dedicated to football."
"I don't say this coming from a standpoint of perfection. I was just as imperfect as anybody else when I played this game," he said. "But the thing is you have to want to get better to your team, to the players, to the organization, even fan base that comes to support you every week in and out, diehards spending their last dollars as hard as our economy is. The fans who sit at a game and say, 'I love these guys.'
"They don't have the value system intact anymore, and that's what I think football is losing as a whole when I look at this new century."
Mike Mazzeo is a frequent contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.