After weeks of saying Mark Sanchez gave the Jets the best chance to win, head coach Rex Ryan may be changing his tune.
Five times this season the Jets have lost by 17 points or more, but with his team down 3-0 late in the third quarter, Ryan finally made the drastic move to replace Sanchez with backup quarterback Greg McElroy. A permanent move to McElroy has yet to come, however.
“Right now, I definitely need a little more time to make that decision,” Ryan said. “I’m comfortable and confident with all three quarterbacks. I think all three guys now have proven they can win in this league — with Greg at the end of [Sunday’s] game, Mark with his history here and Tim [Tebow] last year. [I have] three guys that I’m confident in.”
When the Jets traded with the Broncos in March to acquire Tebow, the media and much of the fan base began to speculate that Tebow and Sanchez would be engaged in a quarterback battle. But with Tebow inactive on Sunday due to two cracked ribs, it was McElroy who the Jets turned to. Now with Tebow nearing health, a dream situation emerges for him this weekend as the Jets play in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla.
“I’m sure we’ll get into that later on in the week and see what the trainers and doctors are telling me and hear from the coaches,” Tebow said yesterday during a conference call with the media. “We’ll just take it as it comes.”
Ryan said Tebow was well enough to play Sunday, but he wanted to give him at least another week and that the team “will monitor his situation” with the cracked ribs.
“When you look at Tim, he is a proven, winning quarterback in this league. Each game’s different. I think when you look at who you play, the opponent you’re playing, things like that,” Ryan said. “I make decisions based on what gives us the best chance to be successful and win. This week it’s going to be about competing and beating Jacksonville. That’s what will go into all decisions.”
It is a different approach from the previous eight months where Ryan, almost belligerently, stuck with Sanchez. The line from the coaching staff and management had always been that Sanchez gives the Jets the best opportunity to win and it was never a week-by-week decision.
Now, suddenly, the Jets are willing to evaluate the quarterback situation on a per game basis.
Sunday afternoon against the Cardinals represented another low for Sanchez, his sixth game this season with a completion percentage under 50 percent. His quarterback rating is No. 32 in the league, just barely above Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Since last season, Sanchez is 12-15 as a starter, also not backing up the idea that he’s currently a winning quarterback.
After he spoke to the media from the podium following the game, a glum Sanchez left the Jets locker room and was embraced by a numbers of players’ families and wives after the game.
Ryan wouldn’t get into specifics on whether Tebow would have replaced Sanchez on Sunday if he was active.
“The fact is that Greg was the guy who was active,” Ryan said. “The decision was in the best interest of our team.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.