With consistently frustrating offensive performances serving to debilitate the New York Jets' attempt at a playoff run, the oft-clamored for benching of quarterback Mark Sanchez could be on the verge of happening.
After emerging with a virtuoso performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, this season has been all downhill over the last three games for Sanchez. The 25-year-old quarterback has regressed in almost every category, completing just 49.2 percent of his passes and compiling a 69.2 quarterback rating.
A vaunted Houston Texans defense awaits New York in Week 5, and with the Jets' season seemingly in the balance, a paltry performance cannot suffice on Monday.
While it is usually foolery to put ultimatums on these types of situations, it seems that head coach Rex Ryan would be smart to pull Sanchez for Tim Tebow if the offense is sputtering after the first quarter.
This is undoubtedly a make-or-break season for Ryan in New York. After looking like an eccentric genius in his first couple of seasons with the Jets, his teams have slowly dissolved as criticism mounts.
Though the New York defense certainly has its deficiencies, the Jets' fall from being a top-flight team has mainly been a result of poor showings from the offense—particularly Sanchez.
With Santonio Holmes now out for the season, the New York offense is in desperate need of a spark.
How long of a leash should Mark Sanchez get on Monday night?
Obviously, there is no guarantee that Tebow can come in and replicate his scintillating run from last season with the Denver Broncos. In fact, odds are that it was a one-time fluke spurred by an inspired performance from the defense.
What is certain is that the Jets' current offense isn't working. Tebow is not an overly explosive force meant to run a gimmick formation (the Wildcat) that has been largely ineffective for the past three years.
Tebow is a quarterback who just so happens to have elite running ability at the position. Your mileage may vary on your evaluation of the former Florida star as an NFL-level passer, but it's not as if Sanchez is lighting the world on fire either.
By putting Sanchez on a short leash on Monday night, Ryan would put the young quarterback in a now-or-never situation we've seen him thrive in before. Despite all of his shortcomings, Sanchez does have a pretty stellar playoff record.
On the other hand, if Tebow comes in for Sanchez and flounders, it's not as if the incumbent will no longer be on the roster.
If the Jets refuse to play Tebow at the traditional quarterback position, they are both limiting their offensive potential and allowing an unseemly sideshow to overtake the team.
The time for Sanchez to step up in the face of adversity has come.