Despite clamoring fans and an anemic offense, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday that he wasn't ready to change quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez will remain the starter -- probably with a shorter leash -- with Tim Tebow as the backup.
"I just know in my heart right now that this is not the time," Ryan said. "I think Tim is an outstanding player. I think Mark is. Right now, I think Mark gives us our best opportunity to win. I will always do, in my opinion, what's in the best interest of this team, and that interest is what gives us the best chance to win. No matter who it is."
For now, Ryan has staked the Jets' future to Sanchez, a fourth-year starter who has directed two touchdown drives in the last 35 possessions. Sanchez must rally a 2-2 team that has lost top receiving threat Santonio Holmes to what could be a serious foot injury.
Sanchez, who had a 39.9 passer rating Sunday in a 34-0 loss at home to the San Francisco 49ers, has two touchdown passes in 11 quarters. Through four games, he has a 49.2 completion percentage.
"He's definitely our guy," Ryan said. "We've had some poor performances in the past, and not just from our quarterback, from our team, and we've been whipped pretty good. But I'm confident we'll come back."
Tebow, who became the Denver Broncos starter in Week 6 last season en route to a playoff berth, was not a factor Sunday. His first completion with the Jets resulted in a lost fumble, and he had two carries for no yards. Tebow's play gives Ryan little reason to switch now, but what would it take?
"I don't want to get into the what ifs, this, that or whatever," Ryan said.
Fans chanted for Tebow on Sunday, and the sports talk radio airwaves filled with calls for the team to make a change. But linebacker Bart Scott said teammates weren't blaming Sanchez.
"He getting a lot of undue criticism," Scott said Monday. "It's (the news media's) job to push the panic button. Mark's our quarterback. We need to rally around him. We have to run the ball better, play better defense."
The loyalty apparently reaches into the Jets offices, too. During an interview Monday on Bloomberg TV, team owner Woody Johnson said, "Mark is our starting quarterback." (Johnson also indicated a victory by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney might be more important than a Jets victory.)
Meanwhile, Ryan said Holmes' X-rays showed the injured left foot wasn't broken. "The MRI, we're having it shipped to different places," Ryan said. "We're not sure how many weeks he's going to be out (or) the extent of the injury."
The team signed former Detroit Lions cornerback Aaron Berry, who was suspended for three games in August for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. He was released by Detroit after arrests during the summer on charges of simple assault and suspicion of DUI.
New York thinks it has inside information on Berry, who played for Pittsburgh when Jets quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh was an assistant at the school. "We feel Aaron has a chance to be successful on and off the field here," Ryan said.
Berry's addition could mean the Jets will place Darrelle Revis, with his torn anterior cruciate ligament, on season-ending injured reserve.
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