He once drew comparisons to Joe Namath after helping the Jets to consecutive AFC title games in his first two seasons, but his lack of improvement the last two years have caused him to fall out of favor. Ryan was non-committal Thursday when asked about Sanchez's long-term future.
"Whether it's not a ringing endorsement or whatever, I have absolutely zero focus on that right now," he said. "Everybody knows I've been supportive of Mark Sanchez. I think he still has the skill set to be a good quarterback in this league and we've won a lot of games with him.
"Again, that's for another day."
Tebow was supposed to be the spark that got the offense going, but instead spent most of his time on the sideline. While he has been hampered the last month by two broken ribs, his numbers were far from special even before that. For the season, he has rushed for 102 yards on 32 carries and is 6 of 8 for 39 yards, and has a stunning zero touchdowns while participating in just 72 offensive snaps.
"I think anytime you look at those things, it's a combination of things, but I wouldn't use the words 'didn't work' at all," Sparano said. "We had a plan going into this thing, but obviously the plan always, at that particular time, was that Mark was the quarterback and Tim would have a role and to what degree the role was, if I remember correctly, it was one to 20 plays in a game. Some days it was eight, some days it was one, some days it was none."
But, many fans and media have said it appears Tebow never got a true opportunity to be the playmaker everyone expected.
"I'm not going to get into that fair shake, not fair shake, all of those kinds of things," Sparano said. "Tim played his role and has done his role as well as expected right now. In other words, he's done everything we've asked him to do so far."
Tebow repeatedly said he was "excited" to be a member of the Jets when he first came from Denver in a trade in March, and he reiterated that throughout the season. But he acknowledged that he was "a little bit disappointed" that Ryan chose McElroy to start over him — at least for Sunday.
Now, Tebow could be an ex-Jet less than a year after he came to New York with lots of expectations.
"I've always, since I was a young boy, believed in myself and the abilities that God has given me and I just look forward to having an opportunity to try to show those again," Tebow said. "I'm pretty positive and I look forward to the future and what's going to happen."
It won't be in New York, though. And the inability to consistently find a way to effectively use Tebow could end up costing Sparano his job, too.
"That's not for me to assess," Sparano said. "Somebody else will do that."
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