FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Mark Sanchez spent a few days after his miserable performance wondering what was next.
“I knew at some point before I died, I’d start at quarterback again,” Sanchez said Wednesday. “I’m glad it’s this week.”
For this week, at least.
“I have to get this decision right,” Ryan said, “and I believe I have.”
“I’m pleased with coach’s decision,” Sanchez said. “Now it’s my job to go make him right.”
Sanchez was removed late in the third quarter against Arizona, and McElroy came in and led the Jets to the only touchdown of the game on his first NFL drive, helping New York to a 7-6 victory. Sanchez was 10 of 21 for 97 and three interceptions, while McElroy was 5 of 7 for 29 yards and the score, and appeared to spark the team.
“When I looked at everything, the biggest thing I kept coming back to is, who gives us the best opportunity to win?” Ryan said. “When I kept coming back to that, I believe the correct answer was Mark Sanchez.”
It was perhaps the biggest call in Ryan’s nearly four years as coach, considering the sensitivity of the situation and the possible ramifications. He acknowledged there were differing opinions among those he spoke to, but said he received no pressure from owner Woody Johnson and added that Johnson was “absolutely” OK with the decision.
“From the day Mr. Johnson hired me,” Ryan said, “he said it’s 100 percent my decision who plays.”
Sanchez, whose confidence was shaken with Sunday’s performance, gets a chance to bounce back from the first benching of his NFL career and to regain the trust of his teammates. He has struggled recently, with two touchdowns and five interceptions in his last four games.