Mark Sanchez Sidesteps The 'Elite' Question

Quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) of the New York Jets calls out a play at the line of scrimmage against the Houston Texans in the first quarter at Reliant Stadium on August 15, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

-- See Gang Green Nation for complete discussion and analysis of the Jets

On the heels of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning saying he believed he was in the elite class of NFL quarterbacks you had to figure someone would try to bait New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez into throwing his name into that conversation. Well, a reporter did just that on Thursday. Sanchez did not take the bait.

"I think that's for other people to debate. I know my skill set and I know I'm getting better," Sanchez said. "Once we win a Super Bowl, then maybe I'll have an opinion on that, but until then, we're just trying to win games."

Jets coach Rex Ryan did offer his take on whether Sanchez can be considered in a class with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

"Those two have won Super Bowls. Peyton Manning's won a Super Bowl and he's won a zillion games, and in my opinion, the best quarterback in football. And you have Tom Brady, who has only won three Super Bowls, been the MVP of the league probably three times. We're a ways from there. There's no doubt, but if we won a Super Bowl, like Eli's saying, he can be in the conversation," Ryan said. "I certainly understand where Eli's coming from, he's been there and done it, he's won a Super Bowl. He's a great quarterback. Now, is he Tom Brady and Peyton? Probably not, but he's pretty darn good, and I think Mark Sanchez is pretty darn good."

Sanchez has completed just 54.4 percent of his passes over his first two seasons and said simply "We need to complete more balls."

Ryan believes Sanchez is an "elite" quarterback, whatever the numbers.

"Numbers? We just want wins. I'm not looking for him to be, I know it's mentioned that you would love to have a quarterback at 60-percent completion rate or whatever the interception is. We just want to win, and that's it. I've always say that, I don't care if he's got a 35 quarterback rating and we win, okay, but seriously, that's what it's about," Ryan said. "This guy has won four playoff games in two years, all on the road. That's when I think we have, when you talk about elite quarterbacks, I think he's an elite quarterback, because he wins the big games, and he's a winner. That's all I want him to do, just win."

Ryan is right. What Sanchez needs, more than numbers, is to win the biggest game. Get the ring, and the 'elite' debate really doesn't matter

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