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Rex Ryan Broke a Promise to Jim Leonhard’s Wife About Punt Returns

One of the reasons the Jets have struggled this season is poor special teams play. In their last four games, the Jets have had a special teams turnover. They also lead the NFL in that category with six on the season. Three of them are muffed punts, and one of the issues has been the fact that Jim Leonhard was relieved of punt return duties. In fact, Rex Ryan promised Leonhard’s wife that he wouldn’t be returning punts this season.  He now has to break that promise.

“I had to go about it and say, ‘Hey, have your wife call me,'” Ryan said on Thursday according to Newsday. “It’s one of those things.”

“My wife has let him hear it,” Leonhard added. “She’s let him have it a couple of times. She called him out on his lie, which is good. You have to do that, right? That’s how you keep people in check.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  The Jets have coughed up three punts, and Leonhard is their most trusted return man.  I’m sure Rex had no intention of asking him to return kicks this year, but then again he didn’t expect Jeremy Kerley, Joe McKnight and Antonio Cromartie to struggle as much as they have.  With a record of 7-5 and only four games remaining, the Jets are going to have to do a lot of things right if they want to clinch a wild card berth.  Sorry Mrs. Leonhard, no more special teams fumbles can be afforded.

Jim Leonhard Unhappy with Jets Fans for Booing Mark Sanchez

Despite Rex Ryan vowing to stick with his starting quarterback as long as he is the Jets head coach, the fans in New York have grown tired of Mark Sanchez.  It is Sanchez’s third year as an NFL starter, and he has not taken significant strides toward proving he deserved to be selected in the top-5 picks of the draft.  Since Ryan has decided to ride it out with Sanchez under center, Jets fans have decided to let it be known that they don’t support the decision.  That’s why Sanchez was booed during the pregame on Sunday, which did not sit well with safety Jim Leonhard.

“I think we have a great crowd,” Leonhard told WFAN on Tuesday. “I think probably for one of the first times, I was kind of disappointed. Our starting quarterback gets booed in introductions…. That’s frustrating when … As players, you kind of turn to each other and say, ‘You know what? I guess we’re in this one today by ourselves.’ We can’t rely on the crowd to give us that energy because it’s already started off on a bad note. So I will say that this past weekend was really the first time that I’ve been kind of frustrated going into a game, which is bad.”

Leonard added that he understands where the fans are coming from and that the team is also frustrated with the results, but wishes they would have their back and give the benefit of the doubt.  As we all know, there is no benefit of the doubt with NFL fans.

Despite leading a comeback against the Bills and keeping the Jets playoffs hopes alive, Sanchez continued to struggle.  He threw a horrible interception from his own end zone and got away with at least two other passes that should have been picked off.  If he can’t stop making crucial mistakes like those, it will be difficult for the Jets to even reach the postseason, let alone match their success from the previous two years.