Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Sanchez keeps QB job
By Rich Cimini
Quick thoughts on the Jets' decision to stay with Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback, which was announced Wednesday morning:
1. This was the safest move for Rex Ryan. It demonstrates the organization's commitment to Sanchez, its willingness to make it work. The Jets have to pay him $8.25 million next year in guaranteed money, and you know that factored into it. If Ryan had promoted Greg McElroy, it would've meant they had given up on Sanchez, the onetime golden boy whom they envisioned as the face of the franchise for many years.
2. Sanchez will have a short leash Sunday in Jacksonville -- a well-deserved short leash. He has 18 turnovers, including five in the past two games. When he gives the ball away, it demoralizes the offense. If he struggles in the first half, it'll be McElroy time, probably for good. Sanchez needs a positive start to regain the trust of his teammates.
3. This will tell us a lot about Sanchez's mental toughness. For three years, he never had to worry about getting benched. Sunday was his first brush with a possible demotion. Maybe it was a wake-up call. Finally, he knows Ryan means business. If he cracks, the Jets will know he's not their guy.
4. The next two games are on the road, which helps Sanchez, who was booed throughout Sunday's win over the Cardinals. If he redeems himself on the road, it could buy him a little good will for the next home game, Dec. 22 against the Chargers.
5. This shows the organization doesn't see McElroy as the long-term answer. The Jets like his intangibles, especially his smarts, but they still regard him as a developmental player whom they hope can become a solid No. 2 quarterback in the league.
6. Ryan realizes it would've been a tremendous leap of faith to entrust the remainder of the season -- and perhaps his job security -- to a former seventh-round pick who has attempted only seven passes in the NFL. As Ryan likes to say, he's in the winning business -- and he needs wins. He's not likely to get fired, but he doesn't want to take any chances.
7. Tim Tebow wasn't even a factor in this quarterback decision. He has to be wondering, "Why did I want to come to the Jets?" He has a right to be frustrated. They sold him a bill of goods. It'll be interesting to see how they use Tebow this week. Would they dare to deactivate him for his homecoming game in Jacksonville? The Jaguars, hoping for a big crowd, don't want that to happen.