It isn’t easy to find a consistent opinion on Mark Sanchez. Yet, for the most part you will find negative perceptions on his future as a franchise quarterback for the New York Jets. There are always questions surrounding his development, his demeanor, his set of physical skills. When there are discussions about young quarterbacks in the league, most analysts would rather take a Matthew Stafford or a Chad Henne for the next ten years than Sanchez.
The Sanchez/Henne debate was a popular one this off-season and from what I read, it was usually Henne who came out on top. Everybody loved his arm strength and overall set of physical tools. The Dolphins owner was already throwing out Dan Marino comparisons. Personally, I didn’t get it. What did Henne do last year to inspire so much confidence? His numbers weren’t impressive and more importantly when his team was 7-6 and in position to make a run for the playoffs, Miami went 0-3 and tanked out at 7-9, thanks in large part to Henne.
Nobody is saying Sanchez lit the world on fire in 2009. His regular season statistics were ugly. Yet, anybody who watched every snap he played last year knew the potential was there. His statistics were destroyed by a few horrific games but overall there were enough strong performances to be optimistic about the future. Then in the playoffs, Sanchez truly gave reason for hope by playing a great game on the road in the wild-card round, a strong fourth quarter in the divisional round, and maybe his best game of the year in the AFC Championship Game on the road.
How many rookie quarterbacks in recent years have won 2 road games in the playoffs?
In 2010, Sanchez has clearly demonstrated progress since his rookie campaign. He protects the football and is hitting the big play down the field with more frequency. Yes, his completion is still lower than you’d like to see but he has two come from behind wins in the 4th quarter already and most importantly has his team off to a 6-2 start.
I can’t define what the “it” factor is with quarterbacks that make them winners and keepers as franchise quarterbacks, but Sanchez has it. He has it because he plays better in bigger spots. He has it because he lived in the Jets training facility this off-season and organized a “Jets West” camp for his receivers. He has it because he has the emotion and swagger that fit Rex Ryan’s team. He has it because you can tell that football is the most important thing in his life and he genuinely wants to be a great player for this franchise.
Chad Henne can have all the arm strength in the world but he comes up small in big spots and doesn’t win football games as well as Mark Sanchez, which is why he is headed to the bench. The great deep ball quarterback in Henne has Brandon Marshall averaging 11.9 yards per catch, while Braylon Edwards is pulling in 18.1 yards per catch from Sanchez.
Sanchez may be inconsistent at times but don’t believe the BS for a second that the Jets can’t win a Super Bowl with him, this season. They were 20 minutes from winning one with him last year and he is already a much better player than he was in January. We have our quarterback of the future. Miami? Chad Henne can join John Beck in the category of failed attempts to find their quarterback of the future.
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