A hot topic of conversation this week became who would be the one to start under center for the New York Jets this weekend against Jacksonville. Well the verdict is out. Rex Ryan is sticking to his guns and is going back to Mark Sanchez much to the chagrin of Jets' fans around the nation.
After his worst start of the season last weekend against Arizona, Sanchez was pulled in the third quarter and replaced with second-year player Greg McElroy. McElroy would go on to lead the Jets to their only touchdown of the game, prompting speculation about a quarterback change in the works for Gang Green.
Despite McElroy's success, this was the only way that the situation could have played out for New York. If Ryan didn't stick with Sanchez, then No. 6 would never see the starting job again for the Green and White. And for a team that just committed over 20 million dollars in salary to a three year extension, that would have been a tough pill to swallow for the Jets' ownership. Sanchez is looking to redeem himself from the forgettable game.
"Sunday can't come fast enough," said Sanchez. "I can't wait to get down to Jacksonville and play my best."
Reports coming out of practice state that Sanchez has approached practice the same way as he has always done. Yet Sanchez is aware that he may be playing for his future in the next few weeks and that if he hopes to remain the starter, he will have to protect the football a lot better than he has in weeks past.
"Coach said it last week that we need to take care of the football and he also made the point after the game when he talked to me," commented Sanchez. "The ball gets batted and tipped at the line of scrimmage. Those kinds of plays happen. You get blindsided and the ball goes flying in the air, it happens to everybody, but when you make a bad read and force it to Jeff Cumberland, those can't fly."
The Jets were able to win the game against Arizona solely because of their defense. Sanchez stated that watching the game from the sidelines showed him how hard his defense was playing to keep the game within arms reach. He stated that watching the game from the bench and seeing the effort made him want to play better not just for the fans, but for his teammates as well.
"It's my job to understand the kind of situation we're in in that game. In that game, our defense was playing lights out. On defense, (I want to play) for (Antonio) Cromartie, who is covering his butt off and Kyle Wilson and Muhammad Wilkerson and all of those guys. You want to play well for those guys."
Sanchez has his best opportunity to make it up to his teammates this weekend against the Jaguars. In these final games of the season, each game is a must win for the Jets. If they hope to find themselves with an above average record after week 17, they will need better play from their starter under center.
"You let a lot of teammates down when you play like that," said Sanchez. "It never feels good. It just doesn't, not the way I prepared, not the skillset I've been blessed to have. It just doesn't add up to the way I'm playing. That's disappointing to me. It's no fun, but it happened. Now it's time to bounce back."