If he had his way, the injury — and subsequent drama — could’ve all been avoided.
Citing multiple sources, Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Sanchez wasn’t expecting to play in the preseason contest, which saw rookie Geno Smith make his first NFL start.
When Smith departed in the fourth quarter, it appeared third-stringer Matt Simms was about to enter the game. But out trotted a likely begrudged Sanchez, who did not want to be thrust into duty with the backups, a source told Cimini.
Inexplicably, coach Rex Ryan served up Sanchez on a silver platter, putting him in behind the vulnerable second-string offensive line. This, predictably, resulted in a brutal hit by a Giants defender, which knocked Sanchez out of action and put his opening day status in serious doubt.
The debacle didn’t go unnoticed around the league.
“That was gross mismanagement of the quarterback position,” an opposing executive told Cimini. “I’d be pissed if I were [Sanchez].”
Ryan, however, wouldn’t agree with that assessment. He rationalized the decision to play Sanchez in a tense and utterly bizarre postgame press conference, which has since gone viral.
“I understand being second-guessed and stuff when an injury happens — certainly I understand that — but that’s football,” Ryan said. “Unfortunately, the best play he makes in all of the preseason, he ends up getting hurt on it.”
On the surface, Ryan’s reasoning is lame. It was clear that Sanchez had won the starting job after Smith tossed three interceptions, showing that he’s not yet ready to lead the club. Ryan had nothing to gain and everything to lose by calling upon Sanchez in a meaningless situation, and his judgment absolutely deserves to be questioned.
At this rate, it won’t be long before the players begin to second-guess their coach. As Cimini noted, the QB switcheroo “wasn’t a popular decision in the locker room.”
“It’s not my call,” center Nick Mangold said. “We do as we’re told.”
(Photo credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke/Newsday)