Jets head coach Rex Ryan dealt with the future of one his quarterbacks beyond this season for the second straight day on Thursday.
Yesterday, Ryan answered questions about Tim Tebow and on Thursday the questions swirled about Mark Sanchez.
A report first surfaced on Wednesday night when sources told ESPN New York the Jets would look to trade Sanchez this offseason. On Tuesday, the Jets had benched Sanchez following a disastrous five-turnover performance during a 14-10 loss at the Titans, replacing him with Greg McElroy. Three weeks ago, Sanchez was yanked in the third quarter of a 7-6 win over the Cardinals after throwing three first-half interceptions.
Ryan stuck with the party line on Thursday when asked about Sanchez moving forward with the team.
“That didn’t come from me or anything else. Anything that is dealing with the future past Buffalo will be handled obviously after that,” Ryan said. “Whatever the decision will be will be handled then. It’s not something I’m concerned with right now. We have two games to play and that’s where my focus is. That’s news to me.”
The Jets head coach did point out the passing offense has struggled this year and acknowledged it hasn’t been as a proficient as AFC East rival New England. Currently, Sanchez has completed 54.8 percent of his passes and has 13 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. If that number holds for the rest of the year, it will be the first time since his rookie season in 2009 he has had more interceptions than touchdowns.
Traditionally, Ryan has been a staunch advocate of his maligned quarterback. His words on Thursday didn’t hold quite the usual vigor.
“Whether it’s a ringing endorsement or whatever, a true statement, not a true statement. I have absolutely zero focus on that right now. My focus is on these two games, that’s we have left, that’s it. Everybody knows I’ve been a supporter of Mark Sanchez. I think he has the skill set to be a good quarterback in this league,” Ryan said. “We’ve won a lot of games with him, but again, that’s for another day. Right now it’s about these two games for me.”
The Jets will certainly want more from Sanchez than to be a “good quarterback in this league” after investing a first-round pick on his selection and giving him a five-year contract extension this past March.
Reports have the Jets already interested in Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Ryan was asked what he thought about Vick. A hearty laugh was followed by his brief (and safe) answer.
“I think I’ll focus on the players we have on this roster instead of somebody else’s players,” Ryan said.
Gang Green notes
» Tight end Dustin Keller (ankle), cornerback Aaron Berry (hamstring), wide receiver Chaz Schilens (knee and calf) and safety LaRon Landry (foot) did not practice Thursday. The decision to not practice Landry was part of a weekly routine to rest his Achilles. Keller missing another day of practice was a major disappointment.
“I’m not sure [if he will play], but again this will be his second day he doesn’t practice but it doesn’t look as good as I had hoped, that’s for sure,” Ryan said.
» The Wildcat offense run by Tim Tebow has had a negligible impact this season and for the first time, Ryan acknowledged the less than stellar return on their much-hyped wrinkle.
“It hasn’t worked out,” Ryan said of their experiment with the Wildcat. “We have had some big plays out of it but for whatever reason, it hasn’t had quite the success out of it I thought it would.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.