Rex Ryan: ‘No question’ Mark Sanchez still Jets starter
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Mark Sanchez is staying put as the Jets starting quarterback.
Despite struggling again in a 23-17 loss to the Texans, Sanchez is still Rex Ryan’s guy — despite many fans and media suggesting a switch to Tim Tebow could help the Jets (2-3) get back on track.
‘‘Yeah, no question,’’ the Jets coach said Tuesday when asked if Sanchez remains the team’s starter.
Sanchez has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in four straight games, and his 48.4 completion percentage ranks last in the NFL. He also has an unsightly 66.6 passer rating, which is 31st in the league — ahead of only Kansas City’s Matt Cassel (66.2) and Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden (64.5).
Ryan wouldn’t speculate on whether he might pull Sanchez for Tebow if the starter continues to struggle and the Jets’ two-game losing streak increases.
‘‘I’m not going to get into the what-ifs and all that,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘We’re not preparing to lose, that’s for sure. We’re thinking we’re going to win, starting this week.’’
New York is home again Sunday against Andrew Luck and the Colts, who stunned the Green Bay Packers, 30-27. Another loss could really ramp up the Tebow Time chatter.
Ryan thought Sanchez ‘‘played pretty good’’ Monday night, especially considering that he was without top receiver Santonio Holmes, out for the season with a foot injury, rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill, and tight end Dustin Keller — both out with hamstring injuries. The Jets coach cited three dropped passes and four tips as skewing Sanchez’s final stats: 14 of 31 for 230 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
‘‘I thought he was accurate with the football,’’ Ryan said.
Texans lose Cushing
Linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn left knee ligament, leaving the unbeaten Texans without their top tackler and one of their emotional leaders.
Cushing was hurt in the second quarter on a low block by Jets guard Matt Slauson. Cushing walked off the field on his own, but didn’t return.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday that Cushing has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will need surgery in two to three weeks, after the swelling subsides. Cushing was leading Houston in tackles (38) before Monday night’s game.
‘‘A big blow for our team,’’ Kubiak said. ‘‘We have to have guys pick it up around him and we’ve got to find a way to move forward.’’
Nix calls out Bills
Buddy Nix places the blame for the Bills’ defensive meltdowns on an overall lack of urgency and not solely on high-priced defensive end Mario Williams. And the Buffalo general manager maintained his confidence in coach Chan Gailey’s ability to turn around a team suddenly facing an early season crisis. Otherwise, Nix finds himself as frustrated and ‘‘puzzled’’ as anyone after watching his team get outscored by a combined margin of 97-31 in its past two games. ‘‘Well, obviously, we’re not pleased with it. There’s really no excuse for losing the way we did,’’ Nix said Tuesday during a telephone conference call with reporters. ‘‘We’re all to blame. Let’s do better. Hell, let’s get it going.’’ As for Williams, Nix said it’s unfair for the player to take the brunt of the blame, because it would be difficult for anyone to play up to the high expectations that were raised around Buffalo after Williams signed a six-year, $100 million contract. ‘‘It’s not just Mario. Mario actually plays better than people give him credit for,’’ Nix said. ‘‘Not to defend him, he can play better. We expect him to, but so can everybody else. . . I don’t care who’s getting paid what, none of us have earned it the last couple of weeks.’’
Cundiff is cut
The Redskins released struggling kicker Billy Cundiff and replaced him with free agent Kai Forbath. Forbath emerged as the winner in a tryout at Redskins Park. He won the Lou Groza Award with UCLA in 2009 as the top kicker in college football, but he has yet to play in the NFL. Cundiff was signed late in preseason after he was waived by the Ravens. He has been the worst kicker in the league this year, making only seven of 12 field goal attempts . . . The Pro Football Hall of Fame has received the football Drew Brees threw to eclipse Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas’s record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Brees broke the record with a 40-yard pass to Devery Henderson during a 31-24 victory over San Diego on Sunday night, marking Brees’s 48th straight game with a scoring pass, a streak that began on Oct. 18, 2009 in a victory over the New York Giants.