It’s still uncertain if Tebow will be active against his hometown Jaguars after sustaining two broken ribs. He was medically cleared by team doctors to play, but Ryan chose to keep him active but not play against New England on Thanksgiving night and then made him inactive against Arizona.
“I’ll just keep working, go study this film and keep trying to improve,” Sanchez said Sunday after the game. “I need to understand where the mistakes came from, keep studying, keep preparing, be ready to play next week and see what happens.”
“Absolutely zero,” he said without hesitating.
It didn’t appear that Tebow was much of a factor in Ryan’s decision. Ryan said all three quarterbacks would be in the mix, but didn’t speculate as to whether he would have pulled Sanchez in favor of Tebow last Sunday if he were active.
Tebow was expected to have a major role in the offense, but instead has been just a spare part averaging about seven offensive snaps per game. He has been listed as the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart, but if the Jets turned to McElroy, it would have meant that the No. 3 guy leapfrogged Tebow to start for the Jets.
The fact the team is playing on the road for the next two games should also help Sanchez. He was booed mercilessly by the MetLife Stadium crowd last Sunday, particularly after each interception, and chants for McElroy were heard throughout the game. McElroy was cheered as he warmed up late in the third quarter, and there was growing sentiment among some fans and media that he earned a start after lifting the team.
“This is my opinion,” Ryan said, “and I believe that sometimes you don’t need to sit a guy for ‘X’ amount of games.”
Sanchez was deemed the face of the franchise when they traded up in the draft in 2009 and took him with the fifth overall pick. He helped lead New York to consecutive trips to the AFC championship game for the first time in team history and there were comparisons to Joe Namath, but it has been a bumpy ride since. Sanchez has been criticized the last two seasons for failing to take the next step in his development, and Ryan has been knocked for sticking with the quarterback for too long.
The two have been joined at the hip, and stand side-by-side during the national anthem before every game. Ryan was seen in the locker room consoling Sanchez after the game, his arm on his shoulder as the two spoke for a few minutes. Until last Sunday, the threat of being benched — even with Tebow on the roster — didn’t appear to be a real possibility.