Initial Reaction – It’s Over Mark, Jets Make Switch And Win

Initial reaction to the New York Jets win over Arizona and their decision to bench quarterback Mark Sanchez

The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals played arguably the ugliest football game of the 2012 NFL Season. Ultimately the Jets escaped with a 7-6 win but the story is Rex Ryan’s decision to finally bench Mark Sanchez…in favor of Greg McElroy. Considering how today’s game was going, Rex had no choice and there is no going back now. Sanchez is like The Sopranos…it is over…find a new show.

From the first play of the game when he threw a brutal interception, Sanchez looked completely lost out there. The team was lifeless with him and the game was there to be taken, thanks primarily to Ryan Lindley being the worst quarterback to ever take a snap in the NFL (10/31, 72 yards, 1 INT!). Making the switch to McElroy brought a shot of life to the offense, which promptly scored a touchdown. Outside of a back shoulder throw to Jeremy Kerley to convert a third down, McElroy didn’t make any special plays. Yet, he steadied the offense and brought a much needed energy to the huddle.

There is no need to go crazy and crown McElroy as the next Joe Montana after a 5/7, 29 yard performance (which the New York media will inevitably do) but for right now, he can protect the football and manage a run heavy offense. The Jets were effective with the 1-2 punch of Bilal Powell (12 carries, 58 yards) and Shonn Greene (24 carries, 104 yards) and had an encouraging performance from Stephen Hill who had 5 catches. This is still not a good football and a team devoid of talent on offense but they should be able to compete, if not win their remaining four games.

Big picture – There is no reason not to stick with McElroy at this point. It is very clear the Tim Tebow trade was 100% a PR move orchestrated by Woody Johnson. Rex Ryan never had an interest in playing him. Mark Sanchez looks completely finished as a New York quarterback. Mentally and physically he looks defeated. There is no going back to him. See what McElroy can do with these last four games and if he could be a viable competitor next summer for an open quarterbacking job with a veteran who is brought in. At this point, it is worth wondering if the Jets will eat Sanchez’s guaranteed money and just get him off the roster in 2013.

This was an important day for Rex Ryan, who finally held Sanchez accountable for his poor play. It was likely too late and there are still major issues all over this roster…don’t allow a 7-6 win over a terrible team make you forget that. Regardless, Sanchez’s time as this team’s franchise quarterback is now officially over.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Marc L

    Any chance, Mark finishes the season as a starter? Any?

  • Greg

    Not unless Gregg gets hurt. Stay with McElroy, Rex. Joe’s right: it’s important not to overblow his performance, but McElroy demonstrates a pocket awareness that neither Sanchez nor Tebow have. He’s smart, and he will do what is necessary to ensure the team wins the game. He doesn’t force throws and he understands the movement of the key defensive pieces. He reminds me of Chad Pennington in his understanding of the game .

    You get the sense that the team was pleased with Rex’s decision to play McElroy. Sanchez has been coddled for too long and it’s high time he was held to account for his poor play. I suspect Rex is feeling some heat from the owner which hastened this decision.

  • Jay

    There is one curious aspect – Sanchez refers to Ryan as ‘Rex’ while GMac referred to him as ‘coach!’ Difference is that Sanchez wants the position because of his relationship, not because of his play. How dare a QB who throws 3 interceptions coming of the most embarrassing effort in Jet history, go to the coach and ask ‘are you benching me?’ Rex should have said, your play benched you now get out of my face, I’m coaching a game!

    Benching Sanchez and sticking with GMac next week would show that Rex is salvageable.
    Unfortunately, Sanchez will start next week – to do otherwise, would show how inept Mr T is in drafting.

  • Greg

    The coach has to do what is necessary to win the game. Right now, despite Rex’s public support of Sanchez, Mark’s play is embarassingly bad. He still makes the same errors he made as a rookie; he holds the ball too long, he can’t look off the safety, he forces throws into coverage, and if his primary receiver is covered, he panics tries to make plays that aren’t there.

    I hope Rex stays with Gregg. He might, Jay because I think the owner served notice on him that losses are unacceptable, and Mark is playing too poorly to win games.

  • Jay

    Great point – Got my fingers crossed – we need to know what we have in GMac! We already know what we have in Sanchez…a ‘C’ QB that can win on a great team as they will elevate his game. He will not make those around him better!

  • Angel

    OK, I disagree with just about everything being said here… for a change. Usually, we’re on the same page but…

    I think Mark is potentially a VERY good QB but has been thrown into a pretty shitty situation, from the beginning. The situation? Being the Jets QB with no O-Line, no running game, and no WRs.

    He is now on a downward spiral and could potentially crash and burn – OR – this may have been the kick in the ass he needs to get his shit together, stop moping around, and start kicking ass.

    It’s time for Mark to stop getting Sad and start getting Mad. Instead of shaking his head, throwing his hands up in the air and crying when a Shilens drops the ball or when Cumberland runs a shitty route – he should get in their face and chew them out… it’s time for him to be a leader!

    Or maybe the guy is a shattered mess and it’s all over.

    As a 4th round pick who got the Jets to the AFC championship 2 years in a row, and won more playoff games then… ANYONE IN JETS HISTORY, I give him another shot – for the rest of the season. BUT, I keep him on a short leash the entire time. If he starts playing erratic and turns the ball over, or starts moping around – TAKE HIM OUT. Oh, is that too much pressure? Tough shit. Sanchez earned this kind of treatment and he has to deal with it. Sink or swim. Once in a while, great adversary like this can make make a champion out of someone… but yeah, it’s rare.

    AND, I like Greg McElroy. He reminds me of a young Glenn Foley, but better.

    Sanchez has earned the right to prove himself – not with his recent play – but with the potential he showed in his first two years before Tannenbaum destroyed him.

  • Angel

    *I meant 1st round pick, 4th overall.

  • Coach

    Once again Old Rexy made me sick with his self-serving comments after the game.

    “I’ve been around this game a long time and sometimes you just get a gut feeling, so I made the switch”.

    Really! He needed a gut feeling to know he has put together a terrible team, of course with the GM,terrible game plan and terrible hires, see Tony Sparano. How about the triple fist pump for winning a meaningless challenge? This is possibly the most overrated coach in NFL history. For all you Jets fans the soon er he is out the better you are going to be.

  • mike

    the most striking aspect of yesterday’s game wasn’t that the qb play was much better after sanchez was pulled, because it couldn’t possibly have been worse. what i saw was an entire offense that started being more productive at every single position. the o-line was moving their guys, running backs looking for space, wr’s actually making tough catches, te’s blocking well in the run game. i don’t think the offense is willing to play hard with sanchez under center, and while that IS a knock against their professionalism, it’s hard to find fault with it. why would you risk your butt and give 100% when your starting qb is playing for the other team?
    sacks he didn’t need to take, head-scratching incompletions, and a ton of yards after the catch left on the field because of terrible accuracy at any range. add to that his odd habit of giving the ball to the opponent two or three times in the first half, and of course you’re going to lose a ton of games.
    anyone can blame the talent around the qb if that makes you feel better. but THIS jets team will probably finish with a top 10 defense and a top 10 running game (in total yards). sanchez is the reason the jets have such a steep hill to climb. as far as i’m concerned, starting him next week isn’t an option.