Updated at 12:00 with Ryan’s remarks in a press conference
The winner, of sorts, of the New York Jets’ quarterback roulette is Sanchez. He may be ineffective and embattled, but the Jets announced that he is Coach Rex Ryan’s choice to start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
There was internal disagreement about which player to start, CBS’s Jason La Canfora reports, and Ryan polled members of the Jets’ organization before making the decision to go with Sanchez even though McElroy spurred the Jets to a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Cardinals last week. Owner Woody Johnson, the New York Daily News reported, preferred that McElroy start in Jacksonville. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano were in the Sanchez camp. Ryan characterized the debate as “conversations,” not disagreement.
“I had a lot of conversations and, within that, there are a lot of different opinions,” Ryan said. “…The thing I’m impressed with in this organization is that we can have open conversations and at the end of the day, I make the decision.”
Sanchez seemed to have bottomed out with his “butt fumble” in the Jets’ Thanksgiving loss, but then threw three interceptions (with a 21.4 passer rating) against Arizona and, for the first time in his six-year career, was benched. McElroy, with Tebow inactive, led the Jets to their touchdown.
Until hopping into the controversy pool, McElroy was best known for calling out the team as a rookie for its “corrupt mindset” after last season devolved into locker-room finger-pointing. With the Jets at 5-7 and still in the AFC wild-card picture, fans have been clamoring for a change and even demanded a change to Tebow, who has recovered from his rib injury and already has been the target of locker-room sniping. The opportunity is a golden one for Sanchez, with the Jets facing only sub-.500 teams in their last four games and playing on the road (far from the booing Jets fans) in three of those games.
“I obviously have to get this decision right,” Ryan said, “and I believe I have.”