Post Game Thoughts: Jets 7 Cardinals 6 Tweet
Once again lets forget the game and just talk about the team. This was a meaningless game and the result was meaningless in the grand scheme of things. After 12 weeks Rex Ryan finally made a switch at the QB position benching Mark Sanchez not In favor of third stringer Greg McElroy. Thatís the story not the 7-6 outcome.
The move itself leaves a number of questions about the organization and their management. Sanchez was awful on Sunday but no more awful than just about any other week during the year where Ryan refused to make the switch. The main difference this week is that McElroy was backup rather than Tim Tebow, deactivated because of broken ribs. Somehow Ryan escaped question about how logically it would make sense to dump Mark in this game rather than any other game this year but its pretty clear exactly what is going on here and it doenst shine a bright light for the way the team is run.
I speculated that the Jets were sitting Tebow because of his contract but it does seem pretty clear now that Rex Ryan was in fact honest saying that he felt Sanchez gave them a better chance to win. There is no way that Ryan can defend not putting Tebow in all these weeks and this week being the time to make the change and it just so happened to be a week when Tebow didnít play. It paints the team in a terrible light because it reinforces the fact that the organization is not run by a general manager but instead by an owner with limited football experience. You donít win in todays NFL when you have an owner that forces moves on a football team and if there was any mystery about who facilitated the Tebow trade it was answered today.
That being said I would expect a Tebow Wildcat package to now be put into the games on a consistent basis. The cat is out of the bag when it comes to benching Sanchez and now they will have to answer to an owner that would like to see Tebow play a bit. McElroy, despite the ovations, did nothing special on the field. He completed a pass to a beyond wide open Jeff Cumberland for a score and more or less handed the ball off from that point forward. That being said his post game press conference really showed a poised young man that showed far more grace and PR skill than Sanchez ever showed at the same experience level as QB of this team. Those are aspects you cant coach and qualities that endear a QB to both the media and the fanbase.
The fact is the Jets have no quarterback on this team. Sanchez is done. You cant bring him back into Metlife after this. The treatment he got was brutal today. It was warranted but still just awful to sit through. We all lose sight of the fact that these players are human beings and unlike a Bart Scott who acts like an ass most of the time when questioned about his play Sanchez has never done that. It was 3 quarters of booing and venom from a crowd that had enough. The staff doesnít believe in Tebow and McElroy is a nothing draft pick. Maybe McElroy can prove to be something but the odds are slim. In the grand scheme of things It would have been better for the Jets to make this switch earlier so they could see McElroy play when teams have actual footage of the player to prepare for.
You saw the spark from the team once Rex made the change which is why he needed to do this earlier in the year, whether to Tebow or McElroy. Watch the defense make a stop with Sanchez in the game compared to McElroy in the game. The celebrations were a team that believed vs a team that didnít believe. It reminded me of when the Colts pulled Peyton Manning in 2009 and every positive play the Jets defense made from there on out was celebrated like they won the Super Bowl. You saw the same from the offense. When Jeremy Kerley brought down a poorly thrown third down pass you would have though the Jets clinched something special. Had the Jets done this earlier they may have won another game or two and be in real playoff contention not in prayer mode. The players wanted this move regardless of who it was to. Rex needed to read that earlier to salvage the season.
Rex of course has the difficult decision as to what to do next. I tend to think he wants to play Mark but there is no way he can put McElroy at the 2 and Tebow at the 3. Similarly I donít know how he can put McElroy at the 1 and Sanchez at the 3. He is helped by being on the road the next two weeks when it comes to decision making as well as the Tebow injury but the logical move is Sanchez to the 3 and inactive on gameday if Tebow can play. The Jets have to run the table at this point and there is nobody on this team that thinks Sanchez can do that for the team. Who knows maybe the best course of action is to IR Tebow.
From a financial perspective this move more or less officially ends Sanchezí tenure with the team. He is due $8.25 million in guaranteed money next year and the Jets will actively look to trade him next season. The Jets only objective at this point is to take a cap neutral position on Sanchez which would require a team to take on $4.3 million in salary for a look at Sanchez. Will the Jets find a willing trade partner? I donít know if they will but they need to start making calls now to see if anyone will bite. Once you make the switch like this at QB its near impossible to go back. The Jets need to just admit their mistake with the Sanchez extension and do their best to move forward without compromising their cap in 2014.
One of the unfortunate sides of this game was Rex waxing poetic about the defense. Lets be realÖ.that QB Arizona throws out there has no business being in the NFL. If their coach didnít make the brain dead decision to go for it on a 4th down the Jets may have lost 9-7. What went on today was no referendum on the defense. It was just a referendum on the Cardinal QB. He bounced passes left and right and in most cases was nowhere near a receiver. This is the bad side of playing bad teams as it creates a false sense of security and reality about a team. If the Jets played this way against a quality team they would have lost by 20 points. Certainly you donít give this back but you absolutely can not look at this win as anything more than a win. Its not a referendum on anything.
The best thing to come out of this game is the fact that the Jets finally moved on. It doesnít matter that it was to a late round draft pick or Tebow. It was just that the coach finally, after weeks of praising the starter, made the move. For the Jets to succeed in the future they needed to move forward not keep looking to the past for answers. This is a team that needs a lot of changes and that is the biggest one you can make. It at least makes me think that the guys in charge, if they are here next year, at least realize that changes need to be made. That is not an opinion I had going into this game. Thatís a quantum leap forward for a team that seems to focus far too much on 2010 rather than 2012. I think the organization can finally see hope for turning things around over the next few years provided they donít read too much into winning games against bad opponents. I think we are all far more optimistic about the prospects for this team than we were at 1 PM today.