Ryan says Sanchez is the QB
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan is sticking with Mark Sanchez as his starting quarterback.
At least for now.
Ryan remained committed to the rookie after Sanchez's miserable performance that included five interceptions in the New York Jets' 16-13 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The fifth overall pick out of Southern California has mostly struggled since beating out Kellen Clemens for the job in the preseason.
"We've got the right guy," Ryan said Monday.
Sanchez is tied with Carolina's Jake Delhomme for the league lead in interceptions with 10, and his 56.7 quarterback rating is higher than only Oakland's JaMarcus Russell and Cleveland's Derek Anderson.
"I just think we've got to do a great job at looking at what we're asking this young man to do," Ryan said. "Do we need to cut things back? Are there things that we could do to put on somebody else's plate to take some things off his plate?
"I have a lot of confidence in Mark."
Sanchez was 10 of 29 for 119 yards Sunday in the 16-13 overtime loss, the Jets' third straight. It wasted a franchise-record 210 yards rushing by Thomas Jones on a day in which the Jets ran for 318 yards, second most in team history.
"We win as a team and we lose as a team," right tackle Damien Woody said. "He knows the mistakes he made. When you're winning and everything's going well, the quarterback always gets almost too much of the glory, and when you lose, he gets too much of the blame."
Sanchez was hard on himself after the game, appearing almost on the verge of tears at times during his postgame news conference.
"I really let this team down and there's no excuse for that," he said. "I have a lot of work to do."
Sanchez wasn't made available to the media Monday; he usually only speaks on Wednesdays and after games.
"Was it just the play of Mark Sanchez that got us beat? No," Ryan said. "We have to realize that this isn't a guy that's played 20 years in the league. Whatever it is, he's got an unbelievable amount of talent. We all see it. We know what he's going to be in the future, but we've got to be smart with him."
Ryan said he wasn't concerned about Sanchez's confidence, despite shots of the quarterback sitting on the bench looking shellshocked at times during Sunday's game.
"He's resilient," Ryan said. "He's going to bounce back from this. I believe that. He's mad at himself because he thinks he let his team down."
Sanchez had a solid debut at Houston, throwing for 272 yards and a touchdown in a victory. He threw for 163 yards and a score the following week against New England, and had 171 yards passing and two TDs against Tennessee in Week 3 -- and earning the nickname "Sanchize" for his play.
Then, Sanchez threw three interceptions at New Orleans before bouncing back last Monday with what he called his "best game" throwing for 172 yards and a TD. Still, he has one touchdown pass and eight interceptions in his last three games, all losses.
"I've got supreme confidence in Mark," Woody said. "He's our quarterback and he's just going to get better. He's going to learn. It was definitely a tough outing for him [Sunday], but he knows that in order to be successful in this league, you've just got to take care of the ball better."
Ryan said he thought about pulling Sanchez in favor of Clemens, but decided the rookie still gave the Jets a better chance to win. That might be as much an indictment on Clemens as it is a vote of confidence for Sanchez.
"My role each week is to be ready if I'm called upon," said Clemens, who has eight NFL starts in three-plus seasons. "Each week, it's a good thing if I'm not called upon because then Mark's playing pretty good and staying healthy."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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