Aug 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez leaves the field with a shoulder injury during the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports

Talking About the Rex Ryan Decision and Mark Sanchez

We all know what this is all about. We can make up a name for it, “QB Gate”, “The Decision”, “The Rex Ryan Decision”, whatever you like. After Mark Sanchez got hurt last night, Rex Ryan was destined to come under fire for bringing Mark into the game and using him late in the fourth quarter.

Some have speculated if this was part of a conspiracy to get Mark injured and give the job to Geno Smith. Why would Rex do this? What could he have been thinking? As far as the conspiracy goes, if anyone was going to say it was a conspiracy against Mark, it would be me, right? But I am not going to say that today. There is no way it was a conspiracy to get the quarterback injured.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a mistake. But it wasn’t a conspiracy.

First of all, if Rex was watching the game, it was obvious that Mark had to be the guy to start week one. Even if you hate Mark Sanchez and are all about Geno Smith, you had to see that he isn’t ready to lead an NFL team. Not yet. He will be eventually, but last night’s performance showed the world that he is not ready yet. Mark had all but won the job by default. Rex would not take part in a conspiracy to get his starting quarterback injured.

Secondly, Rex would also not deliberately set up a situation where he could go into the season without a veteran quarterback. Even if you want to start the rookie, you need a veteran sitting behind him if necessary.

Furthermore, it’s not like Mark playing last night was a surprise. All week-long, Rex was saying that Sanchez was going to play, he just didn’t know at what point of the game he was going to play. So, it is no surprise that Mark did enter the football game.

The mistake was the timing. Rex’s answer that they were trying to win the game is very curious. No preseason game should ever be deemed more important than getting the players through it healthy. They needed to have the ability to “flip the script”. Yes, they said Mark was going to play. But, by the time it got late in the fourth quarter, you need to abandon that script and let either Matt Simms or Greg McElroy play.

Why? First of all, we know what we are getting out of Mark Sanchez. Nothing about his play last night was going to change anyone’s opinion of him. By the time late in the game arrived, change the plan, use the guys we need to see more of. Secondly, when you get to that point in a preseason game, you are seeing guys that are bringing everything they have to make a roster.

These players in the game were going to come after Mark Sanchez something fierce. They are fighting for their football lives. When you have a guy that you already know his ability, Rex should have thought ahead a bit and realized that this could be potentially putting Mark in harm’s way.

Rex would never deliberately set someone up for injury. But, he needs to think ahead. He needs to anticipate the potentially dangerous situation and change the plan.

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Tags: Mark Sanchez New York Jets Rex Ryan

  • Frank Antonelli

    The fact of the matter is that Geno got hit more often and harder than Mark did. This was an unfortunate occurrence that could have easily happened with Mark starting the game. His shoulder could just simply have been one hit away from getting injured. That’s why some players get injured on plays that seem innocuous enough while others don’t get injured on seemingly very dangerous plays. The accumulated damage to an area sometimes takes time to reveal itself.

    • TheJetPress

      Oh I agree, it’s probably not a product of just that one hit. It’s still odd to me having him in that late in a preseason game.

  • Paul Newbold

    No conspiracy! Rex is just a moron!!

    • TheJetPress


  • matr dontelli iii

    1. If you opinion is alcohol influenced then just shut up. Go have another drink and stop typing before you puke all over your keyboard.
    2. If you’re one of the “Jet Fans” who have been claiming that Mark is destined to be a career backup then shut up. You have no business talking about whether or not the ‘backup’ shoulda been in the game.
    3. If you’re a Rex Ryan basher, i.e. nothing he does suits you and you criticize every move he makes then shut up. Whatever he does is wrong in your eyes.
    4. Ok, for the five of you who are still with me here goes. Everything is wrong with the preseason. Everyone is afraid of hurting their players. Starters play very little of the games. Teams talk about all you need is one game, two games, whatever. The fans certainly don’t need the preseason games. Decide how many games you need and make it happen. It’s what? A nine-billion dollar industry? Figure it out and make the unnecessary games go away. Expand the season or eliminate the games. With nine billion bucks there must be something you can do without having a lockout.
    5. Next, as it currently stands the preseason is handled bass-ackwards. The starters should be held out of the first game, not the last. The first game is when you have the most players on the roster and you’re trying to decide who is NFL worthy. Use the first game to whittle down the roster to a manageable amount. Decide who will not be making the cut and don’t use them again unless injury forces your hand. You don’t need the starters for that. Play the starters in the last game so they haven’t been sitting for two weeks. In the Jets’ case weeks one and two could have been used to determine who between McElroy and Simms should be number three. Reulands, Smith and Pantale could have gotten the TE reps and enough of them to fairly evaluate them rather than five reps per player per game. Same with the rest of the roster. By the time you get to weeks three and four you’ll mostly be playing the players likely to play during the season. The exceptions of course are the rookies who need the time, Richardson, Milliner, the UDFAs etc. You wanna play each player as much as you deem necessary, not according to some unwritten book which says you sit the starters the last game. If it’s a new offense and they need reps you play them, it you’re afraid to get someone hurt, you don’t, but it’s the NFL, injuries happen and you can’t get players reps without risking injury.
    6. Mark was playing behind the backup line and against the back up defense. The vast majority of Jet fans want Sanchez to be the backup. What’s the big deal? He should be the backup behind the first-string line? How does that work? What if Brick or Mangold get hurt? You’re gonna tell me the drop-off from Mark to Geno is greater than that between Mangold and whoever is the backup center? Do we even have a backup center? Please. Mark and Geno needed lots of reps because they’re in a battle to see who is less incapable of running the offense. Neither of them is less incapable. They’re both incompetent right now. Geno was really bad on Saturday night and Mark has been really bad for two years running. His preseason has been more of the same. Was Geno not supposed to play as much as he did Saturday? If he doesn’t get the reps then Rex is conspiring against him. Was Mark not supposed to play in either of the last two preseason games and then start game one? Yeah, right.
    7. What about Marty? Does anybody really believe that all of a sudden Rex decided “I’m running the offense now!” If Mark was on the field I firmly believe Marty wanted him out there. So let’s kill Rex for it. First we kill him for not paying attention to the offense then we kill him for deciding who is going out onto the field for the offense. You can’t have it both ways. It’s one or the other. Which brings me to my next point.
    8. The media is after Rex and they won’t stop until they get him. That much is clear. They want to run him out of town and after he’s gone they’ll talk about what a good coach he was, like they do with Bobby Valentine and Buck Showalter, among others. Never in my life have I heard of the governor, THE GOVERNOR!!! getting involved and telling the media they’re out of control. Holy Crap! How out of control MUST the media be for the governor to weigh in (no pun intended) on it? I understand Rex and Christie are lap-band buddies. Regardless, if the media weren’t being over-the-top ridiculous it’s unlikely the governor would have said something. When the fans mimic the press the whole thing snowballs. I thought the thinking here was pretty unanimous in that the mainstream media is the circus. You’re cheating yourself when you listen to the circus media then mimic them and fail to think it through logically.
    9. Rex could have handled the presser better than he did. That said, he started off being cordial, addressing Costello and Cimini by their first names when answering their questions. He didn’t get silly until the questioning got out of control. He does need to learn how to tell them “That’s it on that. Do we have any questions relating to other aspects of the game? If not we’ll wrap it up.”
    10. I am a fan of Rex. I think he is a very good coach who has his warts, like any other NFL coach. We’ve already discussed the owner not only never hiring an experienced head coach or general manager, but he’s also gone into hiding when an experienced (read: more expensive) head coach is available. Now we’re gonna run him out of town because of the circus media? Well, that line of thinking probably goes a long way toward explaining why ‘Jet fans’ cheer when the quarterback gets injured. Classy!
    11. Second guessing is a bad habit. When the second guessing is done with a mob mentality it can lead to terrible results. If my logic is faulty anyplace along the line here please let me know.

    • TheJetPress

      well done matr..and all quite logical