Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Jets [Print without images]

Monday, December 26, 2011
Ryan wants Sanchez over Peyton

By Jane McManus

Rex Ryan doesn't want Peyton Manning. If magically given the choice during free agency this offseason, the Jets coach will stick with Mark Sanchez.

"There's no way we're looking to replace Mark Sanchez," Ryan said.

Ryan was asked by Stephen A. Smith on ESPN New York 1050's "The Michael Kay Show" if Ryan would consider the Colts' Super Bowl-winning quarterback. The Jets could vie for the rehabilitating quarterback if the Colts lose the last game of the season and wind up with the first pick of the draft. The Colts would be foolish not to choose quarterback Andrew Luck. Many, including Manning's father, Archie Manning, have said having two starting quarterbacks on the same team isn't fair to either. And it would be expensive.

In that situation, Manning might ask for an out.

"If they were both out there and you were starting a draft, would you take Peyton Manning?" Ryan asked. "Yeah, I'd take Peyton Manning over anybody. I'm not telling that lie; of course I would take him. But right now when you look at our football team and our franchise, we feel great about our quarterback situation.

"He's young," Ryan said of Sanchez. "Is he going to get better? He absolutely is. Is he perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination and not any of us are. We think he has the ability to be special."

Ryan also said he thought Manning was the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL, over even Tom Brady, yet he won't be a Jet.

"Do I think it's even a consideration for us? No I don't," Ryan said.

Smith also asked why the Jets don’t have a better backup quarterback in case of an injury to Sanchez, or even if he has a bad game. Ryan started by saying he had a lot of respect for Mark Brunell.

"Is he the Mark Brunell that he used to be in Jacksonville?" Ryan asked. "No. If he was, he'd be starting."

But Ryan later said he and general manager Mike Tannenbaum had decided to allocate the team's resources toward other positions.

"I think sometimes the way the money is, when you're divvying out who's making what for your team, you have to prioritize," Ryan said. "Are you better off with a starting offensive lineman than a backup quarterback? I know there are teams that have used a lot of resources in the backup quarterbacks. I think Mark [Sanchez] is durable as well. When Mike [Tannenbaum] and I look at building our team, we kind of put more emphasis in different positions other than backup quarterback."

Smith also asked Ryan about a report the Jets were having internal discussions about whether Sanchez was a good fit for the team long-term.

"I'm absolutely going to deny that, because it's just not true," Ryan said. "I've said repeatedly that this is my guy and there's no question as long as I'm here as a head coach. This is why we drafted him; he's got that great ability. He's tied an NFL record for most road victories in the playoffs. He's only played two years. This is his third season."