In a moment of desperation, and perhaps panic, Rex Ryan considered turning to his bench for help. It was clear Mark Sanchez wouldn’t be the late-game hero the Jets coach had come to expect, and it was even more obvious the Jets were running out of time for a big-time play.
But a day later, Ryan did his best to clarify his internal dialogue; explaining how his momentary lapse of faith in Sanchez during the third quarter of Sunday’s 10-6 loss to Miami wasn’t an indication that he’s lost confidence in his QB for good.
“Mark is our quarterback and he’s my quarterback,” Ryan told reporters Monday. “He’ll always be our starting quarterback, even if I did yank him for whatever reason. He’s our quarterback and we’re going to go as far as he takes us.
“It was just a thing at that time, I did consider it. I was honest when someone asked me the question. Yeah it did dawn on me (to take Sanchez out of the game) cause we were struggling so badly on offense that sometimes when you do put a (new) quarterback in, sometimes you get a shot in the arm. When I thought about it, I was like, ‘You know what? This young man has helped us out. He’s led us to victories in three games in the fourth quarter. Three or four games, he was our best shot.’”
That being said, the coach said he watched film of Sanchez with his offensive coaches today – and didn’t like what he saw.
“As far as our offensive execution, it was poor,” he said. “…So much of it comes down to fundamentals and technique. That’s just the way it is at every position. When all else fails, you go back on your fundamentals and technique. In Mark’s case, you can’t be accurate with the football if you don’t have proper footwork. It’s hard to throw the ball when you’re not set and ready to go. Some of that has to do with the pressure you’re getting. Some of it has to do with if you’re sloppy with your footwork mechanics. The young man has got plenty of ability, but you have to play with more fundamentals.”
With a road game against Pittsburgh, a team that ranks fourth overall in defense, on the horizon, Ryan said Sanchez’s biggest challenge will be fine-tuning his mechanics in a short amount of time.
“Play with your fundamentals, because this football team that you’re getting ready to play is ridiculously good on defense,” the coach said. “They can pressure you. (Safety Troy) Polamalu disguises better than any player in the league -- him and Ed Reed. You’re going to have your work cut out for you mentally. But I want him to play with his technique and what he’s coached to do.”
Sanchez’s teammates wouldn’t let the youngster shoulder the blame alone, however.
“Guys are really asking themselves what they can do better, no finger pointing,” said right guard Brandon Moore.
Moore also said Sanchez offered this simple message to his offensive unit today: “We’ve got to lean on each other during this week,” Moore recalled.
“He’s going to look to improve just like he’s looking for me to improve. I think it’s really just that simple. That was his speech and guys really bought into it. I think his challenge is going to be all of our challenges: to get better this week.”