Rex Ryan Names Mark Sanchez Starting QB for Week 14

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

Despite being benched last week after throwing three interceptions and completing just 10 of his 21 pass attempts, Mark Sanchez will remain the starting quarterback for the New York Jets, according to the New York Jets' official Twitter.  

#RL HC Rex Ryan has just told Jets players at this morning's team meeting: Mark Sanchez will start at QB on SUN at Jacksonville.

— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 5, 2012

Head coach Rex Ryan made the announcement early Wednesday morning, after having three days to study the film of that ugly victory against Arizona and being able to observe what Sanchez and backup quarterback Greg McElroy can do right now. 

One factor that could have played a role in Ryan's decision, though he would probably never admit it publicly, is the Jets' opponent in Week 14: Jacksonville. 

The Jaguars are arguably the worst team in the NFL—if they aren't alone at the bottom, they are certainly in the mix with Kansas City—and they have allowed at least 26 points in nine of their 10 losses this season. 

Ryan is likely hoping that Sanchez will be able to find himself against a defense that ranks 28th against the pass, 30th in points allowed and 31st in total defense. If Sanchez succeeds, he will buy himself a little more time as the starting quarterback without controversy. 

Another factor that could be at play for the Jets is Sanchez's contract. Remember, the team extended his deal for three years after Peyton Manning decided that he didn't want to play in New York. Sanchez makes $20.5 million in guaranteed money in 2012 and 2013. 

The Jets have a huge financial investment in Sanchez's success. They are on the hook for a lot of money, so they need to see something start clicking sooner rather than later. 

Sanchez will have the chance to prove his worth one more time when he is under center against Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon.