In the two days since reporting that the Jets privately intend to explore their options at quarterback for 2012, multiple additional league and media insiders with knowledge of the dynamics in New York have privately communicated corroboration of that fact. In those same two days, the Jets have loudly denied that Sanchez’s job could be on the line.
It started Monday with coach Rex Ryan. On Tuesday, Sanchez himself addressed the situation in an interview with ESPN 1050 in New York.
“I’m not here to defend why I should be the quarterback,” Sanchez said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “When it comes to work ethic, the people in the building know how hard I work and how much I care about playing here and how much I love this team and franchise. . . . We’ll assess the offseason when that time comes.”
The team’s goal for 2011 was to get Sanchez to play as well in the regular season as he does in the postseason. But the team and the player have been unable to duplicate that same sense of urgency, even during many of those regular-season games that entail a playoff atmosphere.
“I think Coach has a great deal of respect for me and I share that same respect for him,” Sanchez said. “He’s seen flashes of a great quarterback in me. H e’s also seen some bonehead mistakes. When he’s talking about being a great quarterback that just means consistent. That’s what I’m striving for. All that stuff is in the near future. I’m working towards it every week.”
But Sanchez seems to concede that, in nearly three seasons, he has yet to get the job done. “Any time you don’t accomplish your goals, that’s considered a failure, at least in my book,” Sanchez said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have the pieces. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have opportunities. It just means we didn’t capitalize on those opportunities. To me, unless we’re playing in the Super Bowl each year . . . those are the kind of standards we set for ourselves. We had made the goal early in the season of winning our division and we didn’t accomplish that. Here we are fighting for our lives at the end of the season.”
The chatter regarding Sanchez’s status, coupled with the finality of the team’s Week 17 game at Miami, could provide the kind of boost that propels Sanchez to a higher level, especially if the Jets can sneak into the postseason. With an opening game against the Texans and, if the Jets can win, a return trip to New England, it’s not all that crazy to think that the Jets can get to the AFC title game again, which would table all the talk about Sanchez’s future.
At least for a year.