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Absence of veteran leadership hurt Jets locker room

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By Kevin Fishbain

Leading into the Jets' season finale, we heard that Rex Ryan's locker room did not have the chemistry it used to. "This is not a close-knit team," one daily team observer said. After their Week 17 loss to the Dolphins and the ensuing drama involving Santonio Holmes, the Jets became a sideshow.

"I don't think I had the pulse of our team the way I've done in the past," Ryan admitted on Monday. "When I met with players as well today, I think that became clear to me."

The way we hear it, one reason for the breakdown in team chemistry was because of the absence of some veteran leaders in the locker room. Two defensive leaders, S Jim Leonhard and OLB Bryan Thomas, finished the season on injured reserve, but it also can be traced back to last offseason, when the Jets also lost veteran ORT Damien Woody to retirement and did not re-sign WRs Brad Smith and Jerricho Cotchery.

Those were the leaders the team didn't have, but apparently there was not enough leadership in the locker room to maintain good chemistry and keep players like Holmes in line. It may have been hard for QB Mark Sanchez to take that role considering his poor play on the field, and some of the other veterans like ILB David Harris, OG Brandon Moore and CB Darrelle Revis tend to be more soft-spoken.

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