There are some who say the Geno Smith Incident is a byproduct of former head coach Rex Ryan’s lawless environment, that Ryan’s brash, swashbuckling style led to IK Enemkpali punching Smith in the face – a punch that will cost Smith to miss up to 10 weeks, maybe more.
But is blaming Ryan fair?
“No, not at all,” former Jet and current CBS Sports NFL analyst Bart Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “This is an isolated incident between two players that had a dispute. I can’t recall any of these type of incidents or moments under the Rex Ryan era. I think everybody got along. He created an environment that was more of a family environment and guys were able to talk out (their differences). Rex brought in some great leaders. I’m not speaking about myself, but he had high-character guys. I believe that. He’s responsible for Muhammad Wilkerson. A lot of guys – David Harris was already there. We never had any of these issues because we had strong leadership and we knew we were all going in the same direction.”
Scott, who played for the Jets from 2009 to 2012, said someone needs to step up on the current team and lead – and not just with their actions, either.
“A lot of the leaders on the team now really aren’t vocal leaders,” Scott said. “They talk about (Darrelle) Revis. He’s a tremendous leader, but he’s not a vocal guy. D’Brickashaw Ferguson is a tremendous leader, but he’s not a vocal guy. Every once in awhile, you need somebody that’s wiling to speak and to call guys out. It’s tough when you don’t have that guy. From what I understood last year, the guy who came in and kind of became that voice, that vocal leader, was Willie Colon. He’s a guy that’s respected by everybody in the locker room. Even Muhammad Wilkerson, he’s not a vocal guy. He’s a very quiet guy.
“I haven’t been in that locker room in three years,” Scott continued, “but somebody’s going to have to step up and say, ‘Hey guys, we got to pull this thing all in one direction because we have an opportunity here.’ This team is built to win now. In a coupe years, they’re going to have to make some decisions on some young players and moving forward. And some of the old guys like D’Brickashaw, (Nick) Mangold, David Harris – even (Antonio) Cromartie – those guys keep making their way out. (You need) young leadership now, guys who are wiling to be vocal. Because they’re going to change the nucleus of that team in the upcoming seasons.”