Mark Sanchez is no longer the New York Jets’ franchise quarterback.
He won’t even be the backup.
Rex Ryan decided to bench Sanchez in favor of Greg McElroy after the 4th-year quarterback had another unhappy performance in a 14-10 loss at Tennessee on Monday night that eliminated New York from playoff contention.
”I think it’s best for our team, and for this game,” Ryan asserted during a conference call.
So, it’ll be McElroy under center for his first NFL start when the Jets (6-8) play the San Diego Chargers at home Sunday. Ryan hasn’t decided whether Sanchez or Tim Tebow – listed as the No. 2 quarterback – will be the backup.
While Sanchez blew the 2nd chance Ryan gave him a few weeks ago, Tebow was leapfrogged by a third-stringer, fueling speculation that the team has little confidence in him as a quarterback.
”I have to take a look at what I think is the best for the team and not always the individual,” Ryan said. ”I’ll say this about Tim and I have always claimed it: I know he wants to help this team achieve success in the worst way and there’s no doubt about that.”
Sanchez threw 4 interceptions Monday night and wasn’t able to deal with a low snap with the game on the line, ending the New York Jets’ hopes to get back into the postseason.
Ryan claimed after the loss that he wasn’t ready to choose who would start against the San Diego Chargers, but told Sanchez he would be making a change at QB by going with either McElroy or Tebow.
”He respected my decision,” Ryan asserted. ”That’s not easy, that’s for sure.”
After speaking to his staff and members of the organization, Ryan chose McElroy.
”This is my opinion, and I do believe that it’s best for our team that Greg is our quarterback,” Ryan maintained. ”I’m the guy that’s making this decision. Every call I make is based on what I think is the best decision for the team.”
But Ryan was vague in his answers to why he selected McElroy above Tebow, selecting after being asked numerous times to not go into detail about what in specifically factored for in the decision.
”I can answer this question a million ways, frontward, backward, sideways, anything else,” Ryan claimed. ”It’s my call and I based it on a gut feeling or whatever.” NFL scores
McElroy, a 7th-round pick last year out of Alabama, helped lead the Jets to a 7-6 win over Arizona on Dec. 2 when Ryan pulled Sanchez from that game late in the 3rd quarter. McElroy had modest numbers – 5 of 7 for 29 yards – but threw for the sole touchdown of the game, and nearly led another scoring drive as the Jets ran out the clock.
Sanchez leads the league with 24 turnovers, including 17 interceptions, and has turned the ball over 50 times since the start of last season. His future with the team is doubtful as he signed a contract extension with N.Y in March that included $8.25 million in guaranteed money for next season.