Sunday, November 11, 2012
Rex stands by his man -- emphatically
By Rich Cimini
Mark Sanchez gives the Jets the best opportunity to win, not Tim Tebow, Rex Ryan says.
SEATTTLE -- Rex Ryan is standing by Mark Sanchez. If you don't agree, too bad.
After yet another lopsided loss, the Jets' coach expressed his confidence in the embattled Sanchez, turning defensive when asked to explain his loyalty.
"I believe we can win with Mark and I believe we can win with (Tim) Tebow, but I'm not going to let you or anyone else convince me otherwise," Ryan said after Sunday's 28-7 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. "This is how I feel. It gives us the best opportunity to win games, and that's the only reason I make any move."
Pressed, Ryan became agitated.
"Well, that's what I believe," he said. "It's what I believe to be the truth. Why do I believe it? Because I believe it. I don't care what you think or what anybody else (thinks). I believe it. In my heart, I believe it. I've had (a lot) of years experience coaching football and I put my trust in him."
Sanchez struggled for the second straight game, completing only nine of 22 passes for 124 yards -- including 43 yards on one pass. The low point was a second-quarter interception at the Seahawks' 6, a late, telegraphed pass to TE Dustin Keller that changed the momentum of the game. It was 7-7 at the time.
It was Sanchez's fourth red-zone interception, one more than 2011.
"It's a critical error," Ryan said. "Those are things that really kill you down there."
Said Sanchez: "That was the start of things going bad. I have to play better than that, so it's on me."
Sanchez completed less than 50 percent of his passes for the fifth time in nine games, but he still has Ryan's support. Obviously, Ryan doesn't think Tebow could do any better or else he'd be playing.
Sanchez took Ryan's vote of confidence in stride, saying he didn't expect anything less.
"That never really crosses my mind," he said of his job security. "I'm too confident for that. We've won too many games together. We've had some great success here, so I don't expect anything different. It's my job to keep playing, play hard and make better decisions and help this team win."
Sanchez also received emphatic support from teammate Antonio Cromartie. Asked to respond to those who believe Sanchez should be benched, the outspoken cornerback said, "They can kiss my ass. Mark is our quarterback. At the end of the day, we couldn't give a damn what anybody has to say on the outside. Mark's our quarterback and will continue to be our quarterback. There's not going to be no division."
The Jets were dreadful on offense, managing only one drive inside the Seahawks' 20. They've scored only one offensive touchdown in their last eight quarters.
Sanchez's poor game came in front of his former college coach, Pete Carroll. They talked briefly before and after the game. Looking forward, Sanchez said he expects the Jets (3-6) to rebound.
"I know we can do it," he said. "I've seen our guys do it. It just has to turn and it starts with me."