Rex says Sanchez is Jets' starting QB 'this week'


Rex says Sanchez is Jets' starting QB 'this week'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Mark Sanchez stood at his locker for 15 minutes and answered every question carefully, making it clear he still believes he's the long-term solution at quarterback for the New York Jets.

A few minutes later, Tim Tebow again talked about how he wants to make the most of every opportunity he gets, skillfully dancing around every attempt to bait him into admitting that he's frustrated with his limited role.

It's quite the quarterback quandary the Jets have on their hands. And, it's only Week 6.

``It's part of the territory,'' Sanchez said Wednesday. ``It's part of the way things go. When you're winning, it's easy, it's great, it's fun. And when you go through some tough times, you have to find a way to dig yourself out and use the best shovel possible.''

Well, things got a bit more muddled when owner Woody Johnson told CNBC on Wednesday morning that Tebow will ``be with us for three years,'' putting to rest any suggestions that the Jets (2-3) might want to try to trade the popular backup in the offseason.

That would mean a few more years of constant questions about who should be the starter: Sanchez or Tebow? And, can the two really coexist?

``It's possible,'' Sanchez said. ``It's going well for me. I feel good.''

A few hours after Johnson's comments, coach Rex Ryan said Sanchez is the team's starting quarterback ``this week'' - but curiously wouldn't make a long-term commitment.

Ryan has repeatedly said Sanchez is his guy, as he did even Tuesday, a day after the Jets' 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans. Last November, Ryan boldly declared: ``He's going to be our quarterback for as long as I'm here, which I hope is a long, long time.''

But having Tebow as your backup is far from a normal situation, and Ryan - as well as offensive coordinator Tony Sparano - has been asked about the quarterback situation several times during the last few weeks. He insisted that no switch to Tebow is coming. So, when he was pressed Wednesday about his qualifier - ``this week'' - Ryan got slightly testy.

``What do you want me to say?'' Ryan asked. ``He's our starter. He's our starter this week.''

None of that matters to Sanchez, despite his struggles since the season opener against Buffalo in which he threw three touchdown passes.

``He has faith in me, I believe that,'' Sanchez said. ``I'm not worried about that. I'm really not.''

His overall numbers, however, are cause for concern. 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 quarterback rating, which is 31st in the league - ahead of only Kansas City's Matt Cassel (66.2) and Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden (64.5).

With that, the criticism has been growing, and something Sanchez has learned to deal with.

``I stick around the building,'' Sanchez said with a smile, ``put blinders on, put some earplugs in and keep playing.''

Meanwhile, Tebow has played only 38 offensive snaps and spent most of his time on the sideline as he averages a mere eight plays a game.

``You just want to make them the best eight they can be,'' Tebow said.

He has 57 yards rushing on 14 carries and is 1 of 2 passing for 9 yards. Tebow does have two first downs on direct snaps as the personal protector, but so far the talk about the dynamic element he would bring has been nowhere to be found.

Tebow reiterated that ``I love being a Jet and I want to stay a Jet,'' when asked about Johnson's comments. He also said he's just going to ``take it one game at a time'' when asked if he would be OK with being the backup for the next three years.

``You never know what's going to happen in the future, so I'm not going to be someone that looks in the future and says, `This is what it's going to be,''' Tebow said. ``I'm going to take every day in stride and just try to make the most I can of every single day.''

It's probably time the Jets make the most of the player they advertised as being a guy who could be a game-changing element to the offense. The Tebow-featured wildcat-style offense, Ryan acknowledged, has not produced the results the Jets would have hoped.

But the solution could be simple: Keep both quarterbacks on the field at the same time. All the time.

With many fans and media calling for Tebow to be used more often - and some even clamoring for him to supplant Sanchez as the starter - the pressure's on. Not that that will affect Ryan's decision-making process.

``One thing I know about the public: The public wants to win, just like we do,'' Ryan said. ``The decision of playing Tebow will be my decision. It's not going to be the public's decision or anybody else's. It's on me.''

With an offense severely lacking consistent big-play production, in large part because of injuries to wide receivers Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, and tight end Dustin Keller, the Jets are short on dynamic players. Second-year receiver Jeremy Kerley is one, but Tebow and running back-kick returner Joe McKnight are two others.

Tebow played seven snaps Monday night, while McKnight was in on nine. If New York is looking for a spark, having both regularly lined up in the backfield - behind Sanchez - could provide that. The Jets have tried that very sparingly, and increasing that approach has been kicked around by the offense in recent weeks.

It would keep Tebow on the field to run, catch or throw the ball at any time, making things even more predictable for opposing defenses.

``This is the reason we brought him here: He's a playmaker, he's a winner,'' McKnight said. ``We put him on the field, he can make things happen.''

Having McKnight in the backfield as an emergency valve - an element missing without LaDainian Tomlinson - along with Tebow would help the short passing game.

``Yeah, that would be fun,'' McKnight said. ``Man, that would be something to look forward to right there.''

That would also satisfy Sanchez, who would remain the starting quarterback without the awkward and sometimes confusing routine of having one run off the field while the other runs on, and vice versa. It would also mean less of Sanchez lining up as a wide receiver when Tebow lines up under center.

``I think there are definitely parts of that that can be effective, with both of us on the field,'' Tebow said. ``I think we have shown that a few times this year and had some pretty effective plays, but it is something that can work.''

As for starting running back Shonn Greene, he's averaging a disappointing 2.9 yards a carry. The Jets could conceivably use him as a ``closer,'' a role he excelled in as a rookie in 2009 when he pounded tired defenders in the second half of games.

Either way, there's still time - and options - remaining for the Jets to make the Sanchez-Tebow dynamic work to win games, without the team having to choose one or the other.

``I'll defer to coach Sparano,'' Sanchez said. ``If that's what he feels can help us win, we'll rally around that and make it work.''


NOTES: Keller thinks he'll play Sunday against Indianapolis after being sidelined four games with a hamstring injury. ``It's been way too long, had too many setbacks,'' he said. ``Was smart today, got some good reps in and came out of it healthy. I think I'll be good to go. I'm pretty positive about it.'' ... C Nick Mangold was unable to practice with an injured right ankle suffered Monday night. He had a high ankle sprain last season that sidelined him for two games. ``It's a little better than last year, from what I can tell,'' he said. ``I don't know if I'm better at handling it or just dealing with ankle injuries.''


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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again. 


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Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

According to a report from ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round draft picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The announcement comes less than 48 hours into the NBA offseason, although the rumors and speculation of the deal has been a prominent storyline for months.

The much-anticipated deal gives the Lakers the star they've been trying to pair with LeBron James for some time and gives the Pelicans a young nucleus to build around the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. 

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Boston Celtics refused to part ways with promising forward Jayson Tatum in a potential trade with New Orleans.

The Celtics had been in the mix for Davis, but with Kyrie Irving likely headed for the exits, Danny Ainge was unwilling to part with his young assets in exchange for the one year remaining on Davis' contract.

Before the Davis domino fell, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote about how a Davis trade could impact Bradley Beal's value

The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics all appear to want Davis and only one can get him, if he is even traded at all.

If the quest for Davis comes down to those three teams, there will be at least two that lose out.

The Knicks or Celtics now must determine whether trading for Beal is their next-best option behind Davis.