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Sports

December 6, 2012

Still Jets' starter, Sanchez out to prove himself

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mark Sanchez spent a few days after his miserable performance wondering what was next.

The New York Jets quarterback had been benched, his coach tired of his mistakes, and there was no guarantee Rex Ryan would give him his job back anytime soon.

“I knew at some point before I died, I’d start at quarterback again,” Sanchez said Wednesday. “I’m glad it’s this week.”

Ryan gathered his three quarterbacks Wednesday morning and told them he made up his mind: He’s sticking with Sanchez.

For this week, at least.

Ryan weighed his options after pulling Sanchez for Greg McElroy last Sunday against Arizona, talking to many people within the organization before settling on his quarterback.

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

So it will be Sanchez and not McElroy or Tim Tebow on Sunday when the Jets take on the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

“I’m pleased with coach’s decision,” Sanchez said. “Now it’s my job to go make him right.”

Sanchez was removed late in the third quarter against Arizona, and McElroy came in and led the Jets to the only touchdown of the game on his first NFL drive, helping New York to a 7-6 victory. Sanchez was 10 of 21 for 97 and three interceptions, while McElroy was 5 of 7 for 29 yards and the score, and appeared to spark the team.

Including, the Jets hope, Sanchez.

“When I looked at everything, the biggest thing I kept coming back to is, who gives us the best opportunity to win?” Ryan said. “When I kept coming back to that, I believe the correct answer was Mark Sanchez.”

It was perhaps the biggest call in Ryan’s nearly four years as coach, considering the sensitivity of the situation and the possible ramifications. He acknowledged there were differing opinions among those he spoke to, but said he received no pressure from owner Woody Johnson and added that Johnson was “absolutely” OK with the decision.

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