If ever there was a moment, a day after a game, that making the switch from starter Mark Sanchez to backup and poster boy of polarization Tim Tebow made sense, Monday was the day. It's understandable that after a humiliating loss to a division rival at home, with emotions running high, Ryan would want to hold off on making the switch, as he did Sunday after the Jets dropped to 3-5.
But rather than waking up and deciding to make the switch that office pools had been formed over this past summer, Ryan told the assembled media at his press conference on Monday morning that he was sticking with Sanchez.
Said Ryan, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, "I think Mark’s our guy. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I’m confident in Mark."
It's starting to seem like Ryan is the only one.
The Gang Green faithful let it be known loudly and repeatedly through the course of Sunday's game that they wanted the switch made. Repeated chants of "Te-bow!" rang out loudly, clearly and more intensely after every Sanchez miscue.
Of course, this was the only way this was ever going to end. With the calls from fans for a backup quarterback—who isn't even a quarterback—to come in and replace an actual quarterback who is struggling due to his own limitations, finally and thoroughly being exposed by a lack of quality talent around him.
I don't blame Ryan for sticking with Sanchez one bit.
Having an actual quarterback, no matter how pedestrian, gives him a chance to win football games. Tebow is a marketing gimmick gone bad on this Jets team, a desperate attempt to win the back pages during the offseason that had zero chance of making any kind of difference during the season.
Too much? Think about this.
The Jets spent all summer telling us there was a plan for Tebow, that there were specific packages for his use. It's now Week 8, and we've seen nothing except for an odd play here and there where Tebow's insertion into the lineup does little more than break up what precious little rhythm Sanchez and the offense may have begun to find.
Tebow was owner Woody Johnson's move, not Ryan's. Ryan wants to win football games. Johnson wants to collect toys and win headline wars with the Maras. Oh, sure, winning some football games would be nice, but it is completely secondary to the marketing of the team and making moves just to make them.
Don't believe me? Johnson bought the team for $635 million back in 2000. The team is now estimated to be worth over $1 billion. What have the Jets won in that time period? They don't hand out Lombardi Trophies for a couple of trips to the AFC Championship.
It doesn't matter. Johnson is making money hand over fist and will continue to do so.
As for Ryan's defense of Sanchez, he wasn't far off when he said, again via Mehta:
Offensively, the problems aren’t one man. If it was one man, that would be easy to do. But it’s not on one person. Sometimes, we’re accurate with the football (and) we drop some passes. Sometimes, the pass might not have been as accurate as we wanted it to be. Then there’s times when our protection let us down.
He's not kidding. Take a look at this play, where Sanchez is lucky even to get the pass off. Talk about an inept job of protecting the quarterback.
Ryan is right to look at the entire offense. He is actually forced to out of necessity due to the fact that Sanchez is the type of quarterback who can produce and play well when the pocket is clean and his reads are defined in the passing game.
Take a look at this throw to tight end Dustin Keller, out of the shadow of his own end zone. It's the kind of play that Sanchez needs more often than not. A clean pocket and an easy read.
The problem, of course, is that instead of surrounding Sanchez with more and more offensive talent as he's progressed in his NFL career, the Jets have essentially stripped away the teammates that helped Sanchez look competent.
Rather than allow their quarterback to grow in an offense with guys he clearly had some chemistry with like Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, the Jets allowed them to walk, scapegoated the offensive coordinator along the way and brought in Tony Sparano to run a limited, unimaginative offensive attack that does precious little to help Sanchez play to his few strengths.
That said, things could be much worse for the Jets offense. The team could have Tebow as its starting quarterback.
Nothing this team has done with Tebow has made any sense this year. From the one-yard plunges that do nothing for the offensive rhythm, to Sparano refusing to use Tebow in the red zone more than a handful of times, it's incredibly tough to see the Jets suddenly "get" how Tebow should be used by making him the starter.
No, Ryan is right to stick with an actual quarterback. It may not be pretty, and games may get away from his team like on Sunday against the Dolphins, but it would only be worse with Tebow under center.
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