New GM talks Mark Sanchez situation

Updated: January 24, 2013, 8:33 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- On the day he was introduced to the New York media as the Jets' new general manager, John Idzik certainly didn't talk about quarterback Mark Sanchez as though he was about to get traded.

But Idzik did make it clear that the former, and maybe future, Jets starter has a lot of work to do.

"We're going to bring in competition," Idzik said. "Mark is a competitor; he's not averse to competition. He'll probably welcome it. It'll make everyone better, and that will be our direction."

Jets coach Rex Ryan was more direct.

"I believe Mark needs to erase his hard drive," Ryan said.

Sanchez threw 18 interceptions this season as the Jets went 6-10. It was disappointing for the team and for Sanchez, who holds a lot of leverage despite the poor performance thanks to a guaranteed $8.25 million due in 2013. That contract was negotiated by fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

The Jets could bring in Matt Flynn, the backup on Idzik's former Seattle Seahawks squad, or perhaps Tarvaris Jackson. San Francisco's Alex Smith is also another quality quarterback that could push Sanchez -- or take over his starting job.

Ryan said Sanchez was in town this week and that he thought the changes made in the coaching staff -- the team has hired offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach David Lee -- would be good.

"He's got to be popping out of his skin, as I think any quarterback would," Ryan said. "You have a combination of Marty Mornhinweg and David Lee as coaches, that's a heckuva start."

Mornhinweg is know to run a more pass-heavy offense, something that Sanchez hasn't done as a professional quarterback as the Jets implemented a ground-and-pound offense under Ryan. Sanchez has reached out to former quarterback Jeff Garcia, who is familiar with Mornhinweg's system, for guidance.

"I think it's new, he's got to be excited about it," Ryan said. "The fact he's reaching out to Jeff Garcia and all that to get an idea of it tells you how much he wants to (compete). Will there be competition? There's going to try to be, as John mentioned, competition at every spot. He obviously is excited about this. He's probably just trying to get a head start."

Ryan has always been a more defensive-minded coach, although players said this year that he made more of an attempt to participate in offensive meetings. Next year, however, things could look very different.

"The ground-and-pound really fit our football team that first year," Ryan said. "We might have been second in the history of the league in rushing attempts. We thought that was the best way to get it done.

"Now when I look at it, I didn't want to be the guy that held us back. But I thought it was important to get a guy with a proven track record; a proven track record as a quarterback developer, a proven track record statistically, a proven track record as a play-caller. And we got all those things with Marty."

The Jets have Sanchez, Greg McElroy and, yes, Tim Tebow still under contract. Tebow did not fit in well under former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's system, but Idzik said all personnel would be evaluated in the next few weeks with an eye toward cap space.

"I can't wait to get out there and see how our offense will look," Ryan said. "Will it look different? Yes it will."

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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