Rex Ryan Takes Full Responsibility for New York Jets’ Disappointment, Discusses Benching Sanchez for Someone Not Named Tebow


Rex Ryan Takes Full Responsibility for New York Jets’ Disappointment, Discusses Benching Sanchez for Someone Not Named Tebow

The New York Jets are finally eliminated and Mark Sanchez is finally taking a seat. Head coach Rex Ryan announced this week that second-year signal-caller Greg McElroy — and not Tim Tebow — would replace Sanchez as the team’s starter for this week’s meaningless game against the San Diego Chargers.

Rex Ryan joined Michael Kay on ESPN Radio in New York to discuss his decision to bench Mark Sanchez, Sanchez’s future with the Jets, the decision to go with Greg McElroy over Sanchez and Tim Tebow, McElroy not being active in Week 15 and McElroy’s overall improvement. He also reflected on the decision to bring in Tebow in the offseason and explained why Tebow played a fairly random series early Monday night against the Titans. And finally, he took responsibility for the team’s failures in 2012.

On it not being an easy decision to bench Mark Sanchez:

“No, but I think obviously with our situation right now … I think it’s the right decision. And when I mentioned it to Mark, that I felt our team needed a change, that I was gonna make a change, he respected my decision. That’s not an easy thing, but I think if we turn the ball over five times, obviously we have to do a much better job of that. That’s what’s so tough. We’re eliminated from the postseason, but in a way we have really no one to blame but ourselves when you turn the ball over like that. That’s a tough pill to swallow but that’s the truth.”

On if Sanchez will ever play for the Jets again:

“Right now we have two games left in the regular season and I’m sure that question and others will be answered at a later time.”

On why Tim Tebow isn’t the one replacing Sanchez:

“It’s my decision, and making this decision, really I focused on where we are, like, right now, and what I think is the best for our team this game. And I think that’s going with Greg McElroy. To me it was a gut decision. That’s kind of how I felt about it. Obviously I like what I saw from Greg against Arizona. I like what I see on the practice field with him. But I think it’s best for our team, and that’s why I named him starter for the San Diego game.”

On why McElroy wasn’t dressed against Tennessee:

“There’s some circumstances that led to different decisions and things, but I’d rather not focus on what’s happened in the past. I think it’s better to look forward and see what we can do these next two weeks.”

On what those circumstances were that kept McElroy from being active:

“You have two receivers that really weren’t healthy the previous week. You had Clyde Gates coming off a concussion, was not cleared off a concussion until, I believe, Friday of that week. And obviously you had the pickup of Braylon Edwards, who’s coming off a hamstring injury — wasn’t a full participant in practice. So that’s obviously circumstances right there.”

On what changed from when he used to insist that Sanchez was his guy:

“I just think when you look at it right now for this football team, I just think we need to make a change. I need to make a change and that’s what I did. And that’s exactly what I told Mark, and that change is going to be Greg McElroy.”

On improvements he’s seen from McElroy this year:

“I see it on the practice field. He’s gotten stronger. Even physically, he’s gotten stronger, and I think he has more velocity on his throws. I think he can make the deep ball; I think he’s got touch on a deep ball. And obviously he’s a very smart young man, and I think that’s gonna bode well for us.”

On it being predetermined that Tim Tebow would play the third series against the Titans:

“Well, I thought that, because he might have been healthy enough to be active, but I wanted to run the wildcat. And after I saw how Tim had progressed during the week, I thought it could be something that would be good for us. And so that was my decision to go with Tim. And I said, ‘Let’s just do it the third series, that way we get him in there and we’ll give that defense something else to think about.’ And that’s exactly the reason that I went with Tim.”

On if bringing in Tebow was a bad decision:

“At the end of the day there’s one person accountable for this and ultimately responsible for this, and that’s me. So if the blame’s gotta go on one person, I’m the guy that should shoulder that responsibility.”

On if that’s fair to him if he didn’t want Tebow in the first place:

“Nothing’s ever forced on me or anything else. Decisions are made and all that, and I’m involved in every aspect of this team. Again, that’s why I’m responsible for this team, and I’m responsible for all the teams that I’ve coached. And being 6-8 clearly is not good enough. We have two games left, and I can tell you this — that I’m going to do whatever I can to see that number’s 8-8.”

On being disappointed in the team:

“I’m disappointed in the way our team has played overall. And I think that, again, you don’t look past the mirror — that’s where you start with it. But we expected so much more from our football team going into the season. And being 6-8 is nothing that any of us expected, and that’s really unfortunate.”

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