Ryan told ESPN.com that he never thought, even when the Jets took Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, that Sanchez was a franchise quarterback.
“With Sanchez, I knew he wasn’t going to be a franchise quarterback, but I thought he’d be good enough to win with,” Ryan said. “With Sanchez, we just couldn’t have it anymore. The boneheaded interceptions, especially in the red zone, it was mind boggling. Unfortunately, Mark never really got better. I think that was the disappointing thing to me.”
Once the Jets drafted Smith as Sanchez’s replacement, Ryan says, G.M. John Idzik didn’t put the right pieces around Smith — and Smith didn’t make himself get better.
“I don’t think we helped Geno by any stretch of the imagination,” Ryan said. “We never added anything that could help him. And he didn’t help himself, either. It was that combination.”
Ryan put together a great defense that got the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons there, but the offense never developed, and Ryan’s defense declined in quality. Perhaps with better quarterbacks, things would have been different for Ryan. He seems to think so.