There are times in the NFL where a head coach faces a decision that appears from the onset to have no correct answer. This Sunday New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan faces that situation as he determines the amount of playing time for his young quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez enters Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills playing his best football of the season, but also with an injured (some call it sore) throwing shoulder. Just based on that information alone many would think that Mark should play. Well the X-factor to the entire situation is that the game has been rendered almost meaningless to Gang Green as they have clinched a playoff spot (and play round 1 next weekend), while the Bills have nothing to play for as they have already been eliminated from postseason play. So the question is how much should Mark Sanchez play considering his injured shoulder? Lets take a look at both options.
1) Sanchez plays at least a half on Sunday- Pros: Giving Sanchez a half of football on Sunday would allow him to remain in sync with the offense and keep everyone on the same page. The Jets can continue to fine tune their offense in live action, which is never a bad thing. Cons: The obvious risk to playing Sanchez on Sunday is the injury concerns. The last thing Gang Green could afford is to lose Sanchez one week from the playoffs. The second less discussed issue is the chance that Mark does not perform well and the offense struggles. Right now the offense is flying high and a poor performance could take away some of the momentum.
2) Sanchez sits out on Sunday- Pros: Resting Sanchez on Sunday would not only let Mark heal up, but the rest of his offensive teammates as well. Gang Green could platoon offensive linemen without worrying about the risk of injuring their starting quarterback. Cons: The rust factor of not playing for a week. There is an argument that not playing on Sunday could knock the Jets offense out of sync, which could equal to a slow start in the playoff game.
As you can see Rex Ryan is in a tough spot with this decision, almost a lose-lose situation, as there are positives and negatives to whatever choice he makes. Of course you just know that the media will feed off of this. Sanchez plays and gets hurt? We told you so. Sanchez sits and the offense struggles in the playoffs: We told you so.
The bottom line is that Rex must do what is in the best interest of his football team as they prepare for the playoffs. Just make sure you choose the right move Rex, as the Jets are still three playoff games away from the Super Bowl.