To this point in his young career, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has appeared capable of handling the frenzied New York sports culture and the constant criticism that comes with it.
But a New York Daily News report published on Wednesday shows several of his teammates believe their young quarterback is a liability on the field and in the locker room.
Several Jets players who were quoted anonymously in the story — as if that really matters at this point — ripped into Sanchez for his practice habits and the coddling he receives from team management.
“We have to bring in another quarterback that will make him work at practice,” one player said. “He’s lazy and content because he knows he’s not going to be benched.”
The never-dull Jets responded to a season-ending three-game losing streak with in-fighting and complaining that called head coach Rex Ryan’s leadership into question.
Last week, rookie quarterback Greg McElroy described the Jets’ disappointing season with the words “selfish” and “corrupt mindset” during an interview with 97.3 The Zone.
“It’s definitely not a fun place to be, I can assure you,” McElroy said. It’s the first time I’ve ever been around extremely selfish individuals, and I think that’s maybe the nature of the NFL. But there were people within our locker room that didn’t care whether we won or lost, as long as they got their ... they really had good games individually; That’s the disappointing thing, and it’s going to take a lot to kind of come together.”
On Wednesday the team hired former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano to replace embattled offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
After reaching the AFC championship game in consecutive seasons, the Jets began the season 2-3 and saw their hopes for another playoff run dashed with blowout losses to Philadelphia and New York in Weeks 15 and 16. In the team’s final three games, Sanchez threw five touchdowns and seven interceptions, including three in their season finale at Miami.
Before that final defeat, Sanchez said he was not concerned about his status as the team’s starting quarterback.
“I’m not out there to prove anything like that to people,” he said. “I just want to work hard for these guys on the team. These guys know I’m leading by example. These are the guys I’m playing for right here in this locker room and in this building.”
Team sources quoted in the report said Sanchez lost confidence as the season wore on, and multiple players said the team should try to trade for Peyton Manning if the Colts draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with their No. 1 overall pick.
“Come on. That’s a no-brainer,” a Jets source told the Daily News. “If you have a chance to get a healthy 36-year-old Peyton Manning and you don’t do it, then you’re stupid. If I could get a healthy 36-year-old Peyton Manning, then, hell yeah, I would trade Sanchez.”