|Schottenheimer and Sanchez are under fire but Manning wouldn't be an offseason consideration for New York. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
First there was the ProFootballTalk report that the Jets, realizing what the rest of us already knew for some time, had finally come to the conclusion that Mark Sanchez might not be a franchise quarterback. There were also reports, courtesy of CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, that while Sanchez may not have lived up to expectations, it's more likely that Brian Schottenheimer, the man responsible for calling 59 passing plays against the Giants Saturday, might be in more immediate danger of losing his job.
Well, good news, Mark. Jets head coach Rex Ryan said Monday that you're his guy.
“There’s no way that we’re looking to replace Mark Sanchez,” Ryan said on ESPN radio, according to the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta. “There’s no doubt… If they were both out there and you were starting a draft, I would take…. Would you take Peyton Manning? Yeah, I’d take Peyton Manning over anybody. I’m not saying that….. I’m not telling that lie. Of course, I would take him. But right now, when you’re looking at our football team and our franchise, obviously we feel great about our quarterback situation. Is he going to get better, he absolutely is. Is he perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination right now. …. But we think he has the ability to be special."
Ryan concedes that Manning, when healthy, is the NFL's best quarterback ("I even put him over Tom Brady"), but that doesn't mean the Jets would be interested in him should he and the Colts part ways this offseason.
"Do I think it’s even a consideration for us?" Ryan asked rhetorically. "No, I don’t.” He also called the PFT report "not true," and reiterated that Sanchez "is my guy."
Ryan, perhaps still caught up in the holiday season, was in a giving mood Monday; he also threw his support behind his much-maligned offensive coordinator.
"I have a huge amount of confidence in both guys," he said. "There’s no doubt. I’ve stated it over and over my feelings about Mark Sanchez. I’ve said it before. No quarterback’s going to look great when that’s all you do… you fall behind. 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. As far as Brian Schottenheimer is concerned, shoot, we’ll just keep working side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder and we’re trying to find a way to beat Miami. I have confidence in him. I have confidence in all our coaches. We have to find a way to get it done.”
Schottenheimer has drawn plenty criticism for his pass-heavy game plans this season, and he's frustrated Jets fans pretty much since joining the staff in 2006. Still, he's rumored to be a head coaching candidate for any number of opportunities this offseason.
For now, though, Ryan likes his chances with Sanchez and Schottenheimer. And if the Jets want to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season, they'll need a lot of help. First things first: New York has to beat the Dolphins in Week 17, and then hope for a Bengals loss to the Ravens, Titans loss or tie to the Texans, and an Oakland loss or tie to the Chargers. Or: a Jets win, Bengals loss, Titans loss or tie, and a Broncos loss or tie.
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