Jim Leonhard left no secret that he wasn’t happy with the boobirds directed at Mark Sanchez before the Jets’ 28-24 win to the Bills on Sunday. The veteran safety, one of the most well-respected and fan-friendly players on Rex Ryan’s team, admitted on Tuesday that he took exception to the fans’ expression of frustration at the quarterback during pre-game introductions.
“I think we have a great crowd,” Leonhard told WFAN radio. “I think probably for one of the best 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.”
“But we do have a great crowd,” Leonhard added. “We have passionate fans, as passionate as anybody and they understand the game of football. So I give them the benefit of the doubt on a lot of things, but …. We love it when the crowd is going crazy… There’s a lot of situations where we control. (If) we start a little hotter, you know that crowd is going to get riled up.”
The crowd at MetLife Stadium expressed their displeasure with Sanchez’s play several times during the game as well. He was booed after his first-half interception on a poorly thrown pass intended for Santonio Holmes. He was later booed after a miscommunication with Holmes that resulted in an incompletion.
“We obviously understand the fans,” Leonhard said. “We’re all frustrated. It’s not just you guys. The players are frustrated as well. The coaches are frustrated. The only way we can right some of these wrongs is by going pout and winning games. We just want that crowd to have our back, which we know they do. But (if) they’re not going to give us the benefit of the doubt sometimes, we got to go out there and prove it week in and week out at home as well.”