New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan made it official today that the fourth-year head coach intends to stick with the fourth-year quarterback that his team traded up to draft fifth overall, surprising nobody.
The quarterback in question, Mark Sanchez, even admitted as much today when asked about the fact that it took Ryan days to announce the decision, saying that he believes that the delay was him “more or less sending a message”, adding that the message is “well received”.
As written yesterday, the fact that the Jets chose to stay with Sanchez as quarterback for next week’s game says little about the team other than their contentedness with the status quo from the quarterback position for now.
Logistically, Sanchez is of course the best of the three options at quarterback from a pure positional perspective (although that may not have been true had the Jets kept Drew Stanton rather than dumping him to the curb for Tebow).
The other two options at the position are former seventh round draft pick Greg McElroy in his second season and, of course, Tim Tebow, whose greatest strength is his ability to run the option offense rather than his pure passing ability.
Had Ryan and the Jets elected to start either one over Sanchez this week, it would have been a much bigger statement about Sanchez than about Tebow or McElroy.
It would have signaled the organization’s belief that Sanchez’s 3+ year body of work is substantial enough to determine that he does not have the skills or makeup to be the team’s long-term answer at the quarterback position, one who can bring a Lombardi trophy back to New York that was not owned by the Mara family.
To be clear, it is perfectly likely that starting Sanchez over Tebow and McElroy gives the Jets a better chance to win. And it is also true that the Jets are not entirely mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, although it is a considerable longshot.
But sticking with Sanchez now likely means that the organization still believes that he has more to offer than he has shown to this point in his career. That is a career that includes an overall 72.9 quarterback rating, a 55.2 completion percentage, 6.5 yards per pass attempt, and 81 turnovers in 59 games.
For Sanchez’s part, he has taken the demotion and Ryan’s waiting game in stride, and insists that it is now his job “to go make him right”. He will get a softball opponent this Sunday with the 2-10 Jacksonville Jaguars on deck to begin his redemption tour.
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