Ryan is in serious danger of losing his job after the season concludes if he doesn't manage to find a quarterback that can win the team games moving forward.
Rather than giving other options on the roster a chance to shine, Ryan continues to go with Sanchez, who time after time has more than proven he doesn't have what it takes to succeed at a professional level.
Ryan's Jets currently sit at 5-7 and don't have a shot at the playoffs. The offense has been completely inept with Sanchez under center, averaging just 19 points per game, good for the No. 26 rank in the league. It has also only mustered 309 yards per game, which places it No. 29 in the NFL.
There are a variety of issues on the team overall, such as a defense that gives up 25 points per game and simply cannot stop the run. There's also a lack of offensive talent around Sanchez. He has no legit No. 1 receiver or running back who can consistently generate production.
That said, the blame will always fall back on the quarterback. Great quarterbacks elevate the sometimes-average talent surrounding them. Thus, the blame will go on Sanchez, which in turn will translate to the head coach that refuses to make a change.
Ironically enough, Ryan made a change at halftime a week ago in the team's Week 13 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Sanchez threw three interceptions in the first half, which prompted Ryan to bench him in favor of former seventh-round pick Greg McElroy.
The Jets would go on to win the game, 7-6, behind a touchdown pass from McElroy.
Despite the positive offensive change resulting in a win, Ryan has reverted to Sanchez for the Jets' Week 14 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. To make the decision even more confusing, McElroy is inactive.
Ryan has decided that McElroy didn't earn the starting job, which is fine. However, making him completely inactive doesn't make much sense. Instead, Tim Tebow is active but took none of the practice snaps leading up to the encounter with the Jaguars according to Chris Mortensen via Twitter:
During week Tebow got 0 offensive team reps. Sanchez got 90% & McElroy 10%. Since McElroy is inactive Kerly will be 3rd QB
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 9, 2012
In essence, this means Ryan has returned to Sanchez full time despite benching him less than a week ago for his performance. Ryan may be attempting the clichéd "wake-up call" benching in the hopes that Sanchez will up his performance in response.
That likely won't be happening if the past is a good indicator of future performance.
Sanchez is now in his fourth season and is only completing 55 percent of his passes. His career-high completion percentage in a season? Just 56.7 a year ago. It also happened to be the year he recorded his career-high quarterback rating at 78.2. This year his rating stands worse at 71.4.
The moral of the story is simple. Sanchez has yet to prove he can play at a high level in the NFL. Most quarterbacks entering the league have a three-year window of development time before they are either considered a lost cause or that they simply need more time.
Sanchez is a lost cause, but don't tell Ryan that.
Should Rex Ryan be fired?
Ryan's loyalty is admirable, but it's going to cost him his job. After all, Ryan did bring Sanchez in as his franchise quarterback, so staying on the sinking ship with him is courageous, but also mind-numbingly stubborn.
There was an easy strategy Ryan could have employed to keep his job—bench Sanchez and see if Tebow or McElroy could win a few games and give the organization some hope for the future. Instead, Ryan has stuck with his man, and it has cost him.
It won't simply be Sanchez losing his job this offseason when major overhauls to the organization as a whole begin. Ryan will be first out the door, and his stubborn, foolish allegiance to Sanchez will be the main factor.