A lot of things have gone wrong for the Jets this year, but what is killing them right now is something they can control. Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez has 13 interceptions through 12 games. He’s on pace to throw more interceptions than touchdowns for the first time since his rookie season.
“He just needs to play quarterback, period. We have to protect the ball, regardless of who [is] the quarterback. We have to do a better job protecting the football, and that’s obvious with some of the things that have happened to this football team,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “Not just the quarterback, but all of us have to; that’s the next step. I think we can be a really good football team, but we can’t keep putting ourselves at risk by not protecting the football. I think it’s clear how we want to play it.”
The turnover issue is one the Jets thought Sanchez had moved on from but it keeps rearing its head.
After throwing 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions his rookie year, Sanchez reversed those fortunes his next two years with 43 touchdowns and 31 interceptions combined.
The poor decisions this year resulted in him being benched late in the third quarter last week in favor of No. 3 quarterback Greg McElroy.
“It’s a frustrating thing and then to have to step back on one hand, as much as you disagree with the decision, you never want to come out of the game. I understand where he’s coming from because everyone needs to be held accountable, myself included,” Sanchez said. “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.”
He said that as far as the benching goes, it was “message received” from the coaching staff.
“Of course, you see how fragile the game is and how close we were even with those interceptions. It’s my job to understand the kind of situation we’re in [against Arizona]. Our defense was playing lights out,” Sanchez said. “It’s probably the best and worst experience of my life and hopefully you learn from it, move on and never look back.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.