Jets coach Rex Ryan yesterday said Mark Sanchez will start against the Bills on Sunday, though it’s not yet determined how long he will play, but it likely will not be more than the first half.
“I wanted to see him throw [in practice yesterday], because last week at this time I had my concerns, but right now he’s zipping it pretty good,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to put him out there if we don’t think he’s healthy, but I believe he’s healthy now.
“I think by playing Mark [Sunday] that kind of keeps him on track doing his things, his routine. He looks good right now.”
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said they want to play Sanchez to keep the offense in rhythm entering the playoffs.
“If you look at where we are offensively the last two weeks hopefully we’re finding our stride,” he said. “Mark’s in a really good routine. His preparation the last two weeks has been outstanding. He’s just been real dialed in. We’re trying to keep that routine.”
Ryan ruled out safety James Ihedigbo (knee, ankle) and RT Damien Woody (right knee) for Sunday’s game, though he said Woody might return to practice today.
The Jets hope to have Woody ready for the playoffs.
DE Shaun Ellis (lower back) didn’t practice yesterday and might be rested for the game. Players who were limited in practice included CBs Darrelle Revis (hamstring), Antonio Cromartie (groin), safety Eric Smith (concussion) and DTs Trevor Pryce (hip) and Sione Pouha (back).
Jets special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff defended the call on Sunday in Chicago for Sanchez to throw a pass to Brad Smith out of a punt formation on fourth down. He explained that it was a tactic they used to keep all of the offensive personnel in the game with punter Steve Weatherford deep.
Westhoff said the Jets got the “scenario” they wanted when the Bears kept their punt return team in instead of their defense, but Sanchez’s pass was dropped by Smith on a play that changed the momentum of the game.
“We felt very good about the play,” Westhoff said. “They even get hits off Mariano (Rivera) once in a while.”
The Jets elevated CB Isaiah Trufant from the practice squad to the regular roster, and it looks like Trufant will play in his first NFL game Sunday.
“We want to see the kid play,” Ryan said. “[Can] he help us in the playoffs? That’s what we’re going to find out. He’s done some good things on the practice field. We want to see if it translate to playing on Sunday.”
Trufant was the defensive MVP of the United Football League, making four interceptions for the Las Vegas team, which won the league title.