Report: Jets favor Mark Sanchez

  • ESPN.com news services | November 14, 2012

Coach Rex Ryan has stuck with Mark Sanchez as his starting quarterback, despite the New York Jets' team's 3-6 record, saying that Sanchez gives his team the best chance to win. According to a report, there apparently is no argument from his locker room, with more than 12 players believing Tim Tebow is not very good.

Both offensive and defensive players, who remained anonymous, told the New York Daily News that they hadn't noticed improvement in Tebow's quarterback skills since he joined the Jets from the Broncos this past March.

"He's terrible," a defensive starter told the Daily News.

Sanchez remains the Jets' starting quarterback as Ryan picks up the pieces from the team's worst stretch of football since 2007, including last weekend's 28-7 loss to Seattle.

Ryan has repeatedly backed Sanchez, including this week when he responded defiantly Monday when asked whether he would bench Sanchez in favor of Tebow, claiming that his job security will not factor into who starts at quarterback.

"If that day ever happens, then it happens," Ryan said. "But with me, I'm never going to waver. I'm not going to make a decision one way or the other in order to save my job. I'm trying to win games."

Jets players told the Daily News that they agree that Sanchez should remain the starter. They take that stance despite the fact that Sanchez has an NFL-worst 52 percent completion percentage and has been intercepted in the red zone four times, also worst in the league.

A Jets official told the newspaper that the options Sanchez has to throw to in the passing game are "garbage," a big factor in the quarterback's poor statistics.

"I've seen better receiving corps in college than we have on our team," another Jets source told the newspaper.

Of his preference for keeping Sanchez in the starter's role, one player, speaking anonymously, told ESPNNewYork.com: "There's no other viable option."

Sanchez, however, struggled in his meeting against the Seahawks and Pete Carroll, his former coach at USC, last Sunday. Sanchez threw a costly interception at the goal line in the first half, then fumbled at the Seattle 32 on a blitz from Richard Sherman, and Seattle's Jason Jones recovered in the fourth quarter. He finished 9-of-22 for 124 yards.

Tebow ran four times for 14 yards, and was 3-of-3 passing for 8 yards. But Tebow was of no help to the offense.

"I don't know how many more losses you can spot somebody before you think you can make the playoffs," Ryan said after the game. "It's about a 2 percent chance at making the playoffs with the record we have and we are going to take that shot."

The Jets finished with just 185 total yards and only 72 in the second half against Seattle, the second time this season the Jets were held under 200 yards of offense.

Not all Jets sources polled by the newspaper criticized Tebow, however.

"He's a winner," one team source told the newspaper. "If he stays on the field long enough, usually good things happen."  

That source, however, made it clear that, although he wanted Tebow to get more playing time, Sanchez shouldn't lose his starting job.

The Jets have said they acquired Tebow to run their Wildcat package, which has fizzled and been a nonfactor this season.

When asked whether the Jets could turn their season around if the team changed the offense to a zone-read system, tailoring the attack to Tebow's strengths, the players didn't think it would work.

"We can't win running that s---," one player told the newspaper.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Jane McManus, ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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