While some fans have given up on Mark Sanchez, the Jets front office says it has not.
Nevertheless, Sanchez isn’t going to be handed the starting job. The fifth-year quarterback will have to earn his spot, just like everyone else, Rex Ryan said.
“There is no guarantee that Mark will be our starter, there's no question,” the Jets coach said during an afternoon appearance on ESPN. “...That job's going to have to be earned.”
Unlike last year when the Jets didn’t have “viable options” for backups, according to host Stephen A. Smith, Ryan said 2013 will be far more competitive.
“Maybe there wasn't viable options before,” the coach said, referring to Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy, “Well, there certainly are viable options now.”
The Jets are down to five QBs now, following Monday’s release of Tebow: Sanchez, David Garrard, second-round draft pick Geno Smith, McElroy and Matt Simms. Contrary to popular opinion, general manager John Idzik said in a separate radio interview that the organization believes it has “several real quarterbacks.”
But would Sanchez even be a Jet if he wasn’t owed $8.25 million guaranteed?
Idzik chuckled in response and said he prefers not to get into hypotheticals. “I’m just happy Mark is involved in our QB competition right now,” he said. …We should see the best of him.”
Asked earlier in the day by radio host Mike Lupica if he thought Sanchez can be “rehabilitated,” Idzik expressed nothing but confidence in the fifth-year QB. “I do. I do,” the GM said.
“And I think, it’s a fresh start of sorts for him too. There’s a lot of newness in the building, so I think that’ll be good for Mark,” he said, referring to new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach David Lee. “So I think that will all be positive for Mark.”
Idzik said his “grandiose” plan for Sanchez and the rest of the quarterbacks is simple: “Let him get out on the field, give them a forum to compete and that will answer the questions.”
Said Ryan: “I think we'll see the best Mark Sanchez we've seen,” the coach said. “And I think we'll see it out of the other quarterbacks as well.”
The GM, however, had several opportunities to declare Sanchez will be on the roster after June 1 -- but Idzik refused to be put in a corner. During a WFAN interview with Mike Francesa, Idzik said: "We're not going to make any definitive statements at this time."