Mark Sanchez Reportedly Benched by Rex Ryan and New York Jets for Week 16

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 28:   Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks to the bench for the call in the first half against the Miami Dolphins on October 28, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has decided to bench starting quarterback Mark Sanchez for the team's Week 16 game against the San Diego Chargers, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. He reports Greg McElroy will start:

I'm told that Greg McElroy will start at QB for Jets on Sunday #nyj

— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) December 18, 2012

The quarterback switch comes after Sanchez delivered another brutal performance on Monday night. He completed just 13-of-28 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. He also lost a fumble for the seventh time this season.

Through 14 games, he's been one of the worst QBs in the league. The USC product has hit on just 55 percent of his throws, is averaging less than 200 yards per game and has more interceptions than touchdowns. Counting fumbles, he has 24 turnovers and 13 touchdowns.

Simply put, that's not going to cut it in the NFL and the Jets finally realized it. Keeping him as the starter for another game after his terrible showing on Monday night would have sent the wrong message to the team's diehard fanbase.

While it's certainly the right short-term decision, it doesn't solve the long-term dilemma the Jets are facing as they look toward next season. Sanchez's contract is guaranteed for 2013.

That probably explains why Ryan and Co. stuck with him for so long. They were hoping he would show signs of progress, which would make his contract less of an issue. Unfortunately for the Jets, that hasn't happened.

It means the front office will have some tough choices to make in the offseason, regardless of what happens over the final two weeks. It's hard to fathom heading into another season with Sanchez as the starter, but that might be the route the team has to take.

As for now, fans can rest assured they won't have to put up with another Sanchez performance in Week 16. Getting a fresh face under center should provide a spark for the Jets offense. The unit can't be much worse, that's for sure.

In reality, the move should have happened weeks ago.