Mark Sanchez gets the starting nod as Rex Ryan stands by his man

Mark Sanchez will keep his job as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback for at least one more week.

Coach Rex Ryan ended days of speculation Wednesday by announcing that the Jets’ starter since 2009 will remain in that role Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, despite struggling all season and being benched late in the third quarter last weekend against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ryan said he consulted several people and “put a lot of thought” into the question before making a decision late Tuesday night. He delivered the news to all three of the team’s quarterbacks -- Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy -- in a meeting Wednesday morning.

“I have to get this decision right,” Ryan said, “and I believe I have.”

Not sure that too many Jets fans feel the same way. They booed Sanchez mercilessly during his disastrous outing against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, when he completed 10 of 21 passes for 97 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.


With Tebow out recovering from broken ribs, the crowd chanted for third-stringer McElroy and cheered wildly when they got their wish late in the third quarter. The second-year pro went on to lead the Jets on their only touchdown drive of the day for a 7-6 victory.

Many thought -- and hoped -- that McElroy had earned the starting spot with his performance. But Sunday’s game was his first-ever in the NFL, so maybe Ryan figured he might not have enough experience to lead the team on a full-time basis.

As far as Tebow goes, it’s not certain whether he’ll be cleared to play Sunday.

Sanchez is experienced and he’s healthy ... and he’s guaranteed $8.25 million next year, although Ryan insisted that his decision was not a financial one.

Most likely, it was just Rex being Rex, loyally standing by Sanchez the way he has all year.

“It’s really a decision I feel great about,” Ryan said.

We’ll see if he still feels that way as the next four weeks unfold.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.