**Q: Does the Jets management really think that Rex Ryan is still the best option for head coach?
EA: I cannot speak for Jets management, so I can't tell you what CEO Woody Johnson and GM John Idzik are thinking at the moment. After the Green & White moved to 5-4 with an impressive win over the Saints, Idzik was asked in a news conference to assess Rex Ryan after nine games.
"Rex has pulled it all together. He's our leader," Idzik said. "Then once you look at what we've done on our roster — same thing. You have seen it. We've had a lot of new faces, lot of new starters, lot of new guys coming in midstream during those nine weeks. And they're productive in a short period of time. That's a tribute to Rex, it's a tribute to our staff."
At that point of time, many people clamored that Ryan should receive an extension. But now after three consecutive losses, a lot of folks are asking if that same person is the right man to lead this team. Ryan, who has been here for four years and 12 games, has compiled a 43-39 overall record as HC (including postseason play) and led the Green & White to two conference championship appearances. But since 2011, the Jets are just 19-25 and they'll need a lot help to avoid missing the postseason for a third consecutive year.
Ryan should be judged on this season as a whole and a quarter of a season remains. Nobody in this organization takes losing lightly and while Sunday was ugly, it was one game.
Raul Corona @raul5193
Q: I believed Mark Sanchez would be a goner after this season because all of the money and cap space, etc. but now that the QB situation is a little heated up, do you think that increases Sanchez's chances of staying in New York? He was having a great training camp and I believe that this system would've worked extremely well for him. Should he return?
EA: Last week, Mark Sanchez volunteered his time at the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown, NJ. Before he started to serve, he told me his rehab is going "really well" following shoulder surgery and he is being told he'll be back better than ever. Sanchez also made his intentions clear about his future, saying that he wants to win here and wants to be part of this organization moving forward.
While Sanchez did have a strong training camp and played well during preseason action while completing 66.7% of his throws for 366 yards with two touchdowns, he was intercepted a pair of times.
"He's had an excellent training camp," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "He's played well, certainly in segments during the preseason, so he's had a good camp."
"His real plus is his experience and he really understands this offense," added QB coach David Lee of Sanchez. "He has studied hard (and) he is really good mentally in this offense."
The media speculation has been rampant that the Green & White will part ways with Sanchez due to the fact that he would be a $13.1 million salary-cap charge in 2014 and is also reportedly due a $2 million roster bonus in March. If the Jets release him, they would reportedly save $8.3 million against the cap and Sanchez would become a free agent.
On a number of fronts, the final quarter of this season is critical. Although it's a longshot, the Jets haven't been eliminated from postseason contention. Secondly, the Jets will have more time to evaluate what they have at the quarterback position. Geno Smith has done a lot of positive things this season, but the rookie and the entire offense are in a rut. The line play has been uneven, wide receiver injuries have been costly and Smith doesn't look the same in the pocket. Smith clearly hasn't played well, but the problems go so much beyond him.
Competition will continue to be John Idzik's mantra. The Green & White will look to improve across the board in the offseason. As far as Sanchez returning, that is one of the questions the GM and his staff will have to tackle.
Corey, can you write me as soon as the Jets season ends and then we can really delve into free agency and the draft? Speaking of the draft, we will be in Mobile, Alabama this January to cover the Senior Bowl and then we'll also make the trip Indianapolis for the Combine in late February. I like to get my boots on the ground and speak with some pundits, scouts and players before delivering too many opinions on the prospects.
The NFL's new league year is March 11, 2014 and that is when free agency will commence. The draft has been pushed back to the weekend of May 8-10 and will once again be held at Radio City Music Hall here in New York.