A New York Jets franchise looking to change its image just can’t get out of its own way.
On Saturday, the Jets made a rather unspectacular move, placing quarterback Mark Sanchez on injured reserve with a designation to return. But the transaction was precipitated by a comedy of errors that only underscores that this franchise is still operating under a big tent canopy and is still a circus.
Rewind to Aug. 24 and the Jets third preseason game against the New York Giants. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith, the Jets' second-round pick and the supposed replacement for Sanchez, played into the second half in his first start of preseason. Smith underwhelmed and threw three interceptions along with a safety and was mercifully pulled from the game.
In his place, conventional wisdom says Matt Simms should probably have gone into the game. After all, Simms was looking to make the roster and would have been on the field with other unproven players looking to make a name. Instead, head coach Rex Ryan put Sanchez into the game.
The rest is history as Sanchez was thrown onto the ground on his second possession and was taken off the field with a right shoulder injury. In the subsequent press conference, Ryan did his now infamous turning of his back return on the media. Cue the clowns.
The Jets are sticking by that decision, publicly at least, saying it was part of their plan all along to put Sanchez in late in the game.
“No, it was not a mistake and I think we’ve covered that topic. Again, we’re not going to look back. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of our game,” general manager John Idzik said Saturday afternoon in a conference call with the media. “I’ve said before we feel terribly that Mark was injured and Mark feels worse. He’s a competitor. We want him out there. He wants to be out there. It happened and now we have to deal with the hand we have and that’s precisely what we’re doing.”
Putting their likely starter for Week 1 into a meaningless game behind an unsteady offensive line was and is a situation that was mishandled, clearly. That should have been enough, but with the Jets it never is.
Almost immediately afterwards, Sanchez was then listed as “day-to-day” even as he wasn’t practicing or even throwing the ball. That designation continued for each practice as Sanchez stood and watched, showing no progress.
Last week, Idzik said that placing Sanchez on the IR wasn’t a possibility. But now, with Sanchez having been evaluated on Wednesday by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, he is officially shelved until at least Week 10.
By that time, he may just want to sit-out the three-ring circus and be done with this team. The Jets will likely cut Sanchez after this season, a move he should welcome as a merciful opportunity to escape a team that has mistreated him every step along the way through this process over the past month.
Sanchez is saying the right things, including sounding like he is on the same page with the front office.
“We’ve all talked together. We’ve all been on the same page. It has been an open line of communication. There’s been no secrets,” Sanchez said. “I’m not blindsided by the IR situation. This whole thing has been out in the open and we feel great about it.”
Of course, who doesn’t feel great when watching the circus?
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Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo Sports. He can be followed for news and random tweetings @KristianRDyer
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