The New York Jets have had their ups and downs in Rex Ryan’s tenure, with the majority of the team’s controversy centering around Ryan’s blabbering and Mark Sanchez. The two often combine themselves in the media, with Rex making a habit out of defending Sanchez despite 3+ years of below average quarterback play.
Thus far, there’s never really been any question as to who’s the starting quarterback of the New York Jets, as Ryan has made a point of squashing any potential QB controversy rumors. But now that Sanchez is off to another horrible start, completing 49.2% of his passes with 5 TDs and 6 turnovers (4 INTs), Sanchez is back on the chopping block.
So Rex stomped out the rumors once more (via NYDN):
“‘I just know in my heart right now that this is not the time,’ Ryan said on Monday. ‘I think Tim is an outstanding player. I think Mark is. Right now, I think Mark gives us our best opportunity to win. I will always do, in my opinion, what’s in the best interest of this team… no matter who it is.’”
But that got us thinking: How many times has Rex Ryan adamantly defended Sanchez over the past four years? Many, many times, as it turns out. Let’s work our way forward chronologically.
1. Ocotber 28, 2009, after Mark Sanchez ate a hot dog on the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders:
“‘To me, I’m an old-school football guy and you’re playing a great game of football. I know you’re hungry, but leave that for the fans,’ Ryan told reporters. ‘You can go to the locker room and you can eat afterward. You know, hey, that’s not the biggest mistake he’s ever going to make.'”
2. September 16, 2010, following comments by ESPN analyst Teddy Bruschi:
“‘I respect the heck out of Tedy Bruschi, no question, but I think he would have a different opinion if he was here every day,’ Ryan said at his Thursday news conference. ‘I really do respect him. That’s a tough dude and he’s smart. I think he would feel much different if he was here because of the way [Sanchez] leads on the practice field, the personality he has. ‘What [Bruschi] says about him when we get ahead, that’s how he is every day on the practice field,’ Ryan continued. ‘It never went our way on Monday night, but I would definitely not put Mark in a front-running category. This guy is a competitor and I think Bruschi would have loved to play with him.'”
3. December 14, 2010, on a poor Sanchez performance:
“A day after he considered benching Mark Sanchez, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan gave his struggling second-year quarterback a vote of confidence — with a caveat.
Ryan said on Monday that he’s committed to using Sanchez as his starter, but made it clear that Sanchez needs to clean up his act in the pocket.
Ryan considered benching Sanchez in the third quarter of the Jets’ 10-6 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. He talked to Sanchez about improving his footwork and overall play on Monday at the team facility.
‘I told him that he’s got to get better,’ the coach said. ‘[There were] quite a few problems with his footwork and he wasn’t accurate with the football on several of his throws. You can’t throw the ball if you’re not set ready to throw out of football position.'”
4. August 18, 2011, Rex Ryan calls Mark Sanchez “elite”:
“‘This guy has won four playoffs games in two years, all on the road,’ Ryan said today. ‘When you talk about elite quarterbacks, I think he’s an elite quarterback because he wins the big games, and he’s a winner.'”
5. October 3, 2011, Rex deflects blame away from Sanchez and onto offensive line:
“‘Mark can be a great quarterback, but we have to protect him,’ Ryan said. ‘He’s not going to make it through the season if he keeps getting hit 10 times a game…. Under that kind of pressure, Tom Brady (and) Peyton Manning would have had a rough day.'”
6. November 18, 2011, following a loss to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos:
“‘This is our QB. He’s going to be our QB as long as I’m here, which I hope is a long, long time,’ said Ryan.”
7. November 23, 2011, on Jets QB controversy with Mark Brunell:
“Rex Ryan on Sanchez: ‘I don’t ever see myself taking Mark out of a game.’ Says not inconceivable he’d lift Sanchez for a series.”
8. December 1, 2011, Rex Ryan on Sanchez’s work ethic:
“‘He takes the brunt of the criticism, but sometimes it’s not him,’ Ryan said of Sanchez. ‘Is he perfect? No, we’re working on things, there’s no question about it. But I’m confident. He works as hard as anybody I’ve ever been around.'”
9. December 27, 2011, following a poor peformance against the New York Giants:
“‘I’ve stated over and over my feelings about Mark Sanchez. And I’ve said it before, no quarterback’s going to look great when that’s all you do and you fall behind and things like that, but it wasn’t Mark’s best day by any stretch of the imagination, but we know he’s done it. And he’s been doing it. We have great confidence in him and I have great confidence in him,’ Ryan said.”
10. January 13, 2012, following derisive comments made by anonymous teammates towards Mark Sanchez:
“‘I don’t know how many that don’t feel confident in Mark Sanchez,’ Ryan said. ‘I’ll tell you this, if it’s not all of them, it’s the majority of our football team has a great deal confidence in Mark Sanchez. And when he walks through that door, his head is going to be held high, there’s no question about it. That’s what I know.'”m
11. January 13, 2012 (Even Jets owner Woody Johnson is getting in on the act!):
“‘He’s the first guy in the building every morning and the last guy to leave,’ Johnson said. ‘So, the last thing he is is lazy.'”
12. March 27, 2012, on using Tebow and Sanchez:
“‘Mark’s job is to play quarterback, not to be the general manager,’ Ryan said. ‘Mark will be okay with it . . . if we win.
‘Mark’s our quarterback,’ Ryan added. ‘We’re hitching our wagon to him.'”
13. April 25, 2012, Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum gets involved.
“With Peyton Manning rumors circling, Ryan, along with GM Mike Tannenbaum, maintained that Mark Sanchez has the confidence of the organization moving forward — although they wouldn’t close the door on bringing in another quarterback.
‘We believe in Mark. He’s going to continue to be a winning NFL quarterback.'”
14. July 26, 2012, at the beginning of training camp:
“‘Mark Sanchez is clearly our starting quarterback,’ he went on to say. ‘And one of our missions this season is that we’ve got to protect him a lot better than we did last year. We need to run the football better than we did last year. So whatever that means because you can have Y. A. Tittle back there at quarterback but you’re not going to be successful if he’s flat on the ground. I’ve got a great deal of confidence in Mark Sanchez. Is he our starting quarterback? Absolutely.'”
15. August 4, 2012, on the Tebow-Sanchez QB controversy (again!):
““Mark Sanchez is our starting quarterback, but we have an athlete and special talent in Tim Tebow that allows us to do different things that maybe other teams don’t have. So we’re going to play Tim Tebow because it helps us, it’s going to help our football team win games.”
Alright, that’s enough. Just kidding. Here’s your bonus No. 16.
16. September 5, 2012, defending Sanchez’s growth:
“‘As a rookie, it was like he was looked as a weakness of our football team,’ Ryan said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. ‘I said there’s going to be a day when he’s looked as a strength, not a weakness. I think that day is right now.’
Ryan insisted that he’s behind Sanchez and he won’t be swayed by calls for Tebow.
‘I understand how popular Tim is . . . and for good reason,’ Ryan said. “He’s a tremendous young man and a talented football player, but Mark had a job to do. Mark’s our starting quarterback.'”
As you can see, the outright defense has gone up several notches in the last two years, with Sanchez evolving from rookie quarterback making excusable mistakes to fourth-year quarterback that hasn’t taken a single step forward in four years.
There are many more examples strewn across the internet, but hopefully you get the idea:
“Mark Sanchez is our starting quarterback.”