- The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports
Rex Ryan announced that Mark Sanchez will be his started this Sunday as the New York Jets take the road to meet up with the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1:00 pm ET. If you haven’t heard by now, Sanchez was benched in the third quarter of last week’s game against the Arizona Cardinals in favor of Greg McElroy. It was McElroy’s first ever game being active.
You can make an argument on either side showing that it’s a good decision and a bad decision. Sanchez is going to be on the team next year due to the contract extension he received prior to the season. Optimistic Jet fans can only hope that the benching elevates his level of play. Sanchez was never threatened with losing his job when Mark Brunell was backing him up. Ryan has always been very supportive, too supportive for some people, of Sanchez so it was a big deal to see Sanchez get pulled.
You can debate forever that the Jets organization has not developed Sanchez correctly. His receiving corps has gotten worse every year and the ground game is nowhere near the dominant force it was his first two seasons. The one thing he can control is the turnovers. Sanchez has hurt the team with interceptions and fumbles at an alarming rate, especially in the red zone. He has four picks in the red zone this season, which is a league-high. On the season, he has 13 interceptions and 10 fumbles, while throwing 12 touchdowns.
The negative aspect of this decision is that the whole team seemed to show some life when McElroy was inserted. The Jets scored their only touchdown when McElroy entered the game. The run game got going, the line seemed to block better and the receivers, like Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley made big catches. Most importantly, the fans at the stadium got loud and got back into the game. You wonder how the players in the locker room feel following the news.
The fact that the Jets are on the road could have impacted the decision. It would be very hard for Jets fans to be supportive of Sanchez if they were home this week. It is now up to Sanchez to win back the fans and his team and show some type of consistency going forward. If he doesn’t play well this week, he could be pulled again and that could be permanent.