EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez said it felt weird, almost like a preseason game. He watched from the sideline, charting plays on a clipboard -- and it's a job he has no intention of getting used to.
"I feel like I'm a starting quarterback in the NFL," Sanchez said Sunday after the Jets' 27-17 loss to the Chargers at MetLife Stadium. "I know I've done it at the highest level under the toughest kind of pressure and scrutiny in the playoffs and regular season. I know I can do it. I just wish I would have played a little better this year."
Sanchez was benched for the first time in his career after throwing four interceptions in last Monday night's loss. He will watch again next Sunday in Buffalo, as Rex Ryan already has named Greg McElroy the starter.
"They know that I want to play," Sanchez said. "It's not a secret. Ultimately, it's their call."
Whether Sanchez returns next season is a hot-button issue. In all likelihood, he will be back because of an $8.25 million guarantee. But he may not want to return; he wants to sit down with the braintrust after the season, sources said, to discuss his role and the direction of the offense.
"I'm not going to get into contract stuff," Sanchez said. "Anything about that, I'm not going to answer questions about that."