The end of a disappointing season for the New York Jets has led players to point their fingers at one player for the epic fail— Mark Sanchez— and started a rallying call inviting the services of a veteran quarterback to take the reins— namely Peyton Manning.
The consensus among unnamed players, according to a story in the New York Daily News, has been that if Manning gets a clean bill of health, he would be the ideal solution to the inept Sanchez.
Those calls are getting real loud.
Key members of the Jets organization said Sanchez is a "polarizing" figure in the clubhouse and there are serious doubts he can lead the team to the Super Bowl.
The consensus among players, according to the Daily News, is that— at the least— the team must sign a legitimate veteran backup to push their young quarterback.
"We have to bring in another quarterback that will make him work at practice," said one unnamed player. "He's lazy and content because he knows he's not going to be benched."
Sanchez has been inconsistent for three seasons and his deficiencies came to a head during the 19-17 loss against the Miami Dolphins. In the final game of the 2011 season, Sanchez's lackluster play helped put the kibosh on any playoff chances and was the final sour note on a season where head coach Rex Ryan was singing the Jets praises.
The inconsistent play of Sanchez over the final three games started his teammates dreaming about another Manning in MetLife Stadium.
The Indianapolis Colts are expected to take Stanford QB Andrew Luck with the first pick of the draft and there is speculation that the team will let Manning go.
The future Hall-of-Famer is still recovering from a pre-season surgery to his neck, is 35 years old and still waiting to be medically cleared before he can even suit up again. That's a lot of ifs.
Whether it's in blue and white or green and white is any one's guess.
Asked if the Jets should make a move for the veteran Indianapolis Colts QB if he becomes available, several players told the Daily News they would welcome him with open arms.
"Come on. That's a no-brainer," a Jets source said. "If you have a chance to get a 36-year old Peyton Manning and you don't do it, then you're stupid. If you get a healthy 36-year old Peyton Manning, then, hell yeah, I would trade Sanchez."
The chances Manning would make the switch from the Colts to the Jets are pretty good.
For one thing, at the core, the Jets are a good team and— if they keep Santonio Holmes— have plenty of targets for Manning to throw to.
Secondly, Ryan adores Manning and with all the problems with play calling from the sidelines, Ryan would relish having a real leader on the field to lead the team.
The trifecta payoff is the presence of Jets consultant Tom Moore who was Manning's offensive coordinator and mentor for over ten years in Indy.
"We already have his coach— Tom Moore," one well-respected player told the News. "Plus, he's a field general and will get everyone lined up. He will get his playmakers the ball. We can win a Super Bowl with Peyton."
Manning already has a Lombardi trophy and the Jets are wondering if they can do it with Sanchez?
"How can we when he's not improving at all?" a Jets player said. "He thinks he is, but he's not. He has shown us what he's capable of."
Sanchez is only 25-years old and has two years left on his contract.
Some Jets players still think he needs another shot— god knows he's taken enough both on the field and off.
"When you get hit the way he got hit," another team source said, "there were some quarterbacks that wouldn't have made it through the season."
But others think their QB is being coddled by the organization.
"They see the organization babying him," said the source. "They see him with a sense of entitlement. He's been given all this and hasn't done anything. They call him 'San-chise.' They make him the face of the organization. They gave him the captain tag. He's not a captain. He should have never been a captain."
Sanchez denies he is a victim being held accountable for failure after going to two AFC Championships and losing both.
"We hold ourselves to a high standard," he said. "I don't want to feel like I'm a victim or anything like that. We expect to win... I don't feel like we set the bar too high. There is no way. I don't feel like that."
"You go to back-to-back AFC Championship Games, and everyone thinks , 'OK, we'll get a little bit better and you are winning the Super Bowl," he told ESPN Radio. "I don't want to make excuses at all. That's not my style. But we've been a victim of our success."
It all boils down to a lot of circumstances fro the Jets to land Manning.
Do the Colts draft Luck, does Manning heal, retire or does he even want to come to New York?
"I don't think he'll come here," a Jets source told the News. "We have to change the perception of the Jets organization. We're not the organization that players said they wanted to play for a year or two ago. We're starting to come across a little flaky. We talk the talk. We don't back it up. We're out of control. There's no discipline. It's a mess right now."
The NFL's biggest off-season story will be the Peyton Manning saga.
Just imagine though, Peyton and his little brother Eli sharing the biggest bedroom in the world— MetLife Stadium.
Who gets the top bunk?