|Sparano wants to get Sanchez back to 'square one.' (AP)|
By Ryan Wilson
Rex Ryan spoke to the media Friday, ostensibly to introduce new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. The head coach also spent a non-trivial part of the conference call speaking to the quotes from anonymous teammates about quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was described as "lazy" and a "baby."
|Nightmare in New York|
“I don’t know how many that don’t feel confident in Mark Sanchez,” he said according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “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.”
Well, we know it's not "all of them" because of Santonio Holmes' Week 17 temper tantrum. But we take your point, Rex.
The embattled head coach also addressed the unsourced nature of the comments.
"An anonymous source, or whatever it is, doesn’t speak on behalf of the entire football team; doesn’t put his name to a quote and things like that. Believe me, there's a lot of people that I know specifically -- a ton of our players, and everybody in this organization, in my opinion, that has a great deal of belief and admiration for Mark Sanchez."
Whether Ryan actually believes what he's saying shouldn't obscure the bigger message: if you're willing to publicly blast your teammate but aren't willing to take responsibility for it, you're a coward.
During the team's end-of-year press conference last week, general manager Mike Tannenbaum admitted that Sanchez needs to play better. He echoed those sentiments Friday, though expressed them more diplomatically.
"He needs to be more consistent, and he'd be the first one to tell you that," Tannenbaum said. "With that being said, he's done a lot of good things over three years, and we're going to learn from where he can be better, and we’ll move forward. Having Coach Sparano here, we’re excited about those two guys working together."
And lest you fear that Sparano may be in over his head since he's never previously been a coordinator ... well, fear not.
"I called plays in Dallas during that period of time, working with Coach Parcells," he said according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Lisa Zimmerman.
There's more:"We’’ll be explosive. We’ll be able to get it down the field," Sparano said, presumably not having watched the Jets-Dolphins regular-season finale.
Sparano's optimism aside, here's the reality: Sanchez is entering his fourth NFL season. If he doesn't show marked improvement in 2012, he and Ryan both could be looking for new gigs 12 months from now.
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