Rex Ryan still isn't sure what he's going to do with his star quarterback this Sunday.
After initially saying following Sunday's 38-34 loss in Chicago that he'd be sitting Mark Sanchez against the Bills this week, only to backtrack Monday and say he might indeed get some burn, Ryan remained non-committal today on whether to play Sanchez against the Bills or sit him and give his sore shoulder some extra rest.
"I haven’t decided he’s going to play 'X' amount of plays or if he’s going to play at all," Ryan said after the Jets' practice here at the team's training facility in Florham Park, N.J. "I’m leaning to think that maybe he’ll play some, but we’ll see."
Ryan wants Sanchez, who's played well in his last two outings on the heels of a couple of stinkers, to be as sharp as possible heading into the postseason. He said he's not treating Sunday's game, which doesn't have a whole lot riding on it other than a win could possibly help the Jets earn the No. 5 seed, as a preseason tilt and wants his regulars to get some quality time.
But when it comes to Sanchez, he's not about to rush to judgment, preferring to wait until some point later in the week to make that final determination. Ryan, though, did say that if Sanchez plays, it won't be for the entire game.
"Last time, I jumped to conclusions and said there was a 99 percent chance he was going to play that game, which was true," Ryan said, "but remember after I saw him throw, I was like, 'Hey, wait a second now. He doesn’t look healthy to me.' The next day, he comes out and we all saw it, he was throwing it great. I’m not going to put him in a situation where he’s going to get hurt.
"If we don’t think he is 100 percent or right at it, then no, I’d have a tough time playing him. I don’t think that would be appropriate."
Sanchez, of course, wants to play but understands the bigger picture. He sounded like someone who's going to be fine with whatever Ryan chooses to ultimately do, even mentioning that he wouldn't want to be his coach at the moment because of the nature of the decision.
"He’s got a good feel for things and he knows what he wants out of us," Sanchez said. "He also wants to be smart with the injuries, and at the same time keep us in our same rhythm. And my routine’s been good these last few weeks, and I’ve felt good when game day came, and I want to feel the same way this Sunday and not miss a beat.
"So until he says anything, I’m preparing to play and I’m ready to go. And if I do indeed get pulled, then I’ll be [Mark] Brunell and Kellen [Clemens'] biggest cheerleader."
But Sanchez is glad Ryan is taking the approach that he is, which is allowing him to stay in tune with everyone else and keep himself sharp in all aspects so he doesn't throw himself out of whack heading into the playoffs.
"It changes your mental approach," Sanchez said. "If you know you are not playing, if he tells you early in the week and he just says 'Hey, you're resting all week,' it might change your mental approach, even if he says it on a game day. I want to be able to go through the warmups, do all the footwork stuff. I want to keep my feet sharp. I’ve been a lot better with two hands on the football, little things like that, working on fundamentals. And this is the perfect week to get back to it.
"So it definitely helps -- all the reps you can get."
One thing Sanchez has going for him?
"He’s much better right now than he was last week at this point," Ryan said. "So, he’s feeling good about it. He kind of does have that hot hand and more than anything, I just want him to make sure that he’s ready to go. There’s a good chance that we’ll play Saturday in the playoffs, so you don’t want to look at it that, 'Hey this is a short week now.' So you’ve got to be preparing yourself that, 'Hey, we’ve got to be rolling.'
"From the preparation, from what you do in the classroom on the field. This is not a bye week by any stretch of the imagination. So we’ll see."