Commentary

Jets say Mark Sanchez will be ready

But with offseason surgery looming, can Gang Green's QB hold up in the postseason?

Updated: January 4, 2011, 3:35 AM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Before Mark Sanchez went out onto the field against the Buffalo Bills, Jets coach Rex Ryan took offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer aside and joked that he and general manager Mike Tannenbaum had decided that Schotty would be fired if Sanchez threw even one ball.

Then Ryan messed with his coordinator by setting the offense up in an empty-set formation on the first play of the game.

"Just wanted to get Schottenheimer's blood going a little bit," Ryan laughed. "Probably wasn't real funny."

It ended up being Joe McKnight's first carry.

A day after Sanchez didn't discount the notion that he might need offseason surgery on his injured shoulder, Ryan said he thought his starter would be healthy for the wild-card game against the Colts on Saturday.

"Well, I think he is going to be 100 percent," Ryan said. "Here I am with my percentages, but I think he will."

But Sanchez hasn't been the same since injuring his throwing shoulder during a scramble in a win at Pittsburgh. His shoulder was very sore after the game and again after a loss to Chicago. In the last two weeks, Ryan has gone back and forth about whether or not to start Sanchez.

"I think he's healthy," Ryan said. "I think he's going to be ready to go."

Ryan also said that right tackle Damien Woody (knee) should be back for the Colts game after missing the last three due to arthroscopic knee surgery.

Woody, too, thinks so, tweeting Monday, "I'M BAAAACCKKK!!!!"

Right tackle is a critical position whenever you face the Colts because of the presence of speed rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, who usually lines up over the right tackle. If the right tackle can't handle Mathis, it's going to be a long day for the offense.

"I'm going to welcome him back with open arms," right guard Brandon Moore said of Woody.

Also, safety Eric Smith was a definite to play after passing all his post-concussion tests.

With the extra rest that starting running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene got, as well as cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, all of whom were inactive for the Bills game, Ryan said the Jets were ready to go.

Ryan said that while the backups were getting ready for the Bills, the Jets coaches had the veterans looking ahead to a playoff matchup with Kansas City or Indianapolis.

"We were working the whole time so we don't feel like we're behind," Ryan said.

Still, with a starting quarterback whose right shoulder is still sore two weeks after the Chicago game, the Jets will need Sanchez to feel healthy to stay on top.

Jane McManus is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow her on Twitter. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini was used in this report.

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Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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