Despite replacing Mark Sanchez during the game last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has confirmed that he will be keeping Sanchez as the team’s starting quarterback.
After Sanchez was replaced during the game by third-string quarterback Greg McElroy, speculation was abound that Ryan might finally be intending to hand off the starting quarterback position to Tim Tebow–or even McElroy–after a series of disappointments from Sanchez.
For now, that isn’t the case–but Sanchez is well aware of the significance of Ryan’s move to replace him during the game against the Cardinals. “I think he was more or less sending a message. And it’s well received,” Sanchez told reporters over the weekend. “I know. I’ve got it.”
To his credit, Sanchez says that he is committed to improving his game in the coming weeks, and that he will be playing as if his job is on the line. And, going by all of the indications from Ryan, it is on the line.
“I think we’re all playing for that,” he said. “It’s highlighted by the quarterback position. There’s been a lot of emphasis and a lot of attention on this position here. But this kind of thing affects peoples lives and careers.
“It’s not just, ‘Oh man, bummer.’ It’s not like that. This is serious. Coaches, players, coordinators, everybody. I understand that.”
So why did Ryan decide to stick with Sanchez? The head coach explains:
“The biggest thing that I kept coming back to was who gives us the best opportunity to win. When I kept coming back to that, I believe the correct answer is Mark Sanchez.”
Ryan said that Sanchez has to “play better,” and to “protect the ball better.” If Sanchez doesn’t step his game up, Ryan says that he won’t hesitate to pull the starting quarterback yet again.