The old line of propaganda goes, “If you say something long enough and loud enough and often enough, the people will believe it.” At this rate, Rex Ryan is beginning to look a little bit like “Baghdad Bob.”
It was “Baghdad Bob,” the Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, who drew worldwide laughs during Operation Iraqi Freedom as he assured the population the coalition army was being turned back. Days later, statues of dictator Saddan Hussein were being toppled in the capital city.
Ryan’s defense of quarterback Mark Sanchez is now so over the top following another subpar performance in Thursday night’s 17-13 loss at Denver that it has become chuckle worthy. Ryan’s talk doesn’t jive with Sanchez’s play so far this season.
“We’ll go out there and play tomorrow. That’s how I feel about Mark,” Ryan said on Friday. “This is our quarterback, he’s going to be our quarterback for as long as I’m here, which I hope is a long, long time.”
It is part ego-protection by Ryan and part unwillingness to criticize a player who will dictate the final six games of the season.
Five times this season, Sanchez has thrown at least as many interceptions in a game as touchdowns.
“He can make all the throws. He’s a competitive guy. Has it been perfect? No, absolutely, but it hasn’t been perfect for our entire team,” Ryan said. “We know we have the right guy and we just have to get a little bit better.”
Ryan is right that it isn’t all the fault of his quarterback, but it also isn’t as clear-cut as the Jets head coach makes it.
“It absolutely doesn’t belong on Mark’s shoulders. He’s just a player. He’s a big piece of the puzzle, but it wasn’t all on Mark Sanchez. I know he takes it. That’s the kind of young man he is. He would be the first one to admit that he has to be more consistent,” Ryan said. “We need to cut down on some errors and things, as does the rest of the team, myself included and every other coach. We’ll all take this collectively, but he doesn’t need to put it on his shoulders.”
A poorly thrown, third-quarter pick six tied the game at 10-10 and changed the direction of a game that seemed to be tipping toward the Jets at that point. It was typical Sanchez, who locked-in on wide receiver Plaxico Burress and threw the third-down pass without seeing cornerback Andre Goodman just underneath in coverage. The error was the same one he was making in Week 1 this season, and was making last year.
“I shouldn’t have thrown it. It’s an embarrassing play on my part,” Sanchez said. “I hurt the team and lost the game.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.