Locker room leadership is a difficult thing to measure. It is really an intangible. It is also difficult to gauge unless one is actually part of a team. I do hear a lot from the team about Shaun Ellis' role as a locker room leader. His 2008 drug related arrest and subsequent one game suspension appear to be nothing more than an aberration.
It is always difficult to lose a strong locker room presence. I do, however, think the Jets are in a stronger position today to take a hit in this department than they were a year or two ago. This is because Mark Sanchez appears to be taking more and more of a leadership role. As the team has leaned on him more during his development and his play has improved, his teammates seem to have gained more trust in him. I think back to the Cleveland game where he took shot after shot and would not quit. He also pulled teammates out of fights in that one.
When a team does not have strong leadership at the most important position on the field, other guys need to step up. When the quarterback emerges as a leader, it becomes less important to have other voices.