Ever since Mark Sanchez entered the NFL in 2009, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has been one of his biggest supporters, and for good reason. The Jets flirted with Super Bowl appearances in each of his first two years.
However, ever since the pinnacle of the Ryan/Sanchez era, their road playoff victory against the New England Patriots in January of 2011, they’ve been trending the wrong way, and Sanchez has been at the forefront of it.
It was not even a year ago that Rex Ryan said that Sanchez would be the Jets’ starting quarterback “for as long as I’m here, which I hope is a long, long time.” Even with Sanchez struggling mightily, Ryan had stayed steadfast.
That is, until Sanchez’s play has gotten so poor that even Rex Ryan is reconsidering his commitment.
Ryan pulled Sanchez from the Jets’ Week 13 victory in the middle of the game, replacing him with Greg McElroy, who drove the Jets down the field for the eventual game-winning touchdown on his first ever NFL drive.
Ryan’s loyalty to Sanchez has never been tested like this, but still, Ryan handed the keys right back to Sanchez when he named him the starting quarterback for their Week 14 game this weekend.
But now, for the first time, Ryan has started to distance himself from Sanchez, and it doesn’t seem like the fourth-year head coach is as joined at the hip with his quarterback as he once indicated he was.
“I don’t feel that my future’s tied in with how we do things [with Mark Sanchez],” Ryan said this week.
“Obviously, this is a ‘win’ business and I know that,” Ryan said. “One thing I can [do to] affect [my] job security is … winning. That’s what everybody wants. That’s what we all want. Obviously, that’s what I want.”
Not exactly the endorsement that Ryan would once give Sanchez. But maybe that’s a good thing.