"There are a lot of tough decisions you make as a coach," Ryan said. "A lot of times, it's easier when you put the three priorities (ahead of everything): the team, the team, the team. You've got to take away personal feelings and whatever, because it's bigger than me or this person or that person."
Ryan was seen in the locker room consoling Sanchez after the game, his arm on his shoulder as the two spoke for a few minutes. They have been connected at the hip since they both got here — they stand side-by-side during the national anthem before every game. Ryan took the job in 2009 and the Jets traded up to draft Sanchez with the No. 5 overall pick a few months later.
Sanchez had never been benched for poor play before Sunday, despite fans and media calling for him to sit at various points during his nearly four seasons. But, he experienced terrific success in his first two years, helping lead the Jets to consecutive AFC title games for the first time in franchise history. This is a team that hasn't won — or even participated in — a Super Bowl since Namath won it in 1969.
The Jets have had a lengthy list of solid but far from super quarterbacks over the years since Namath, including Richard Todd, Ken O'Brien, Boomer Esiason, Neil O'Donnell, Vinny Testaverde, Chad Pennington and even a one-year cameo by Brett Favre. Ryan and the Jets thought they had the guy who could do it in Sanchez.
That all seems like ancient history now.
Sanchez could still reclaim his job and bounce back, maybe even this week. But Ryan has now set the precedent: Play the way you're expected to, or you're going to sit.
"I need to understand where the mistakes came from," Sanchez said after the game. "Keep studying, keep preparing, be ready to play next week and see what happens."
Regardless of what Ryan decides, whether it's Sanchez, Tebow or McElroy, DeVito doesn't believe it will affect the players negatively.
"I think in most locker rooms it could do that, but not in this locker room," DeVito said. "We'll face this just like every other situation, as a family, and it definitely won't divide this group of guys. Last year, I might've had a different answer for you, but this year I have no doubt that this team is going to stick together."
NOTES: Ryan had good injury news, saying he doesn't think TE Dustin Keller has a high ankle sprain, although his status for Sunday is uncertain. X-rays on RB-KR Joe McKnight's ribs were negative after he left the game in the second half. ... Ryan praised the defense, which allowed just 137 yards against Arizona and held the Cardinals to 0 for 15 on third downs. He added that CB Antonio Cromartie, who held WR Larry Fitzgerald to one catch for 23 yards, "continues to play at a super-Pro Bowl level." He also pushed for Cromartie to be selected for the Pro Bowl. "They shouldn't even have one if that kid doesn't get in there," Ryan said.
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