Sanchez Breakdown: Jumping Ship?

9

Stat line: 13/29, 109 Yards, 1 interception – 39.9 QB rating, 44.8 completion percentage

Season stats: 63/128, 813 Yards, 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions – 69.6 QB rating, 49.2 completion percentage

Last week, I joked that I wouldn’t abandon the format of this particular article.  Well today, I’m not in a joking mood.  To try and pin down individual moments in this game would be skirting a more pressing issue: the fact that Mark Sanchez might be less than a month away from his last action as a New York Jet.  Seriously. It’s time for a good, old-fashioned rant. So as The Joker once said: here…we…go!

Let’s get some things out of the way in as few words as possible. Mark Sanchez had a snowball’s chance in hell at succeeding this year. Everything the Jets did in the wake of last season’s meltdown set this quarterback up to fail. The contract extension rang hollow, because days earlier, the Jets got very publicly into the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Then they traded for Tim Tebow.  Then, as we tore days off the calendar in March, and April, and May and June, we wondered, will the Jets address their needs? Are they really going into this season with one proven NFL weapon in Santonio Holmes? What about depth at running back and tight end? Was Wayne Hunter actually going to see another snap on Sanchez’s offensive line? Mike Tannenbaum’s negligence on the offensive side of the ball is a fireable offense.

All of that said, Mark Sanchez has been 50 shades of awful. In the modern NFL,  completing less than 50% of your passes one time is bad enough. To do it three weeks in a row is unconscionable. It was both laughable and painful watching other teams around the league executing in the passing game with such ease. The 49ers are talented defensively, but as our own Chris Gross Tweeted last night, it would be nice to root for a quarterback that fans don’t need to make excuses for every week. Brandon Weeden kept the Browns competitive, on the road, against a good defense on Thursday night. Ask yourself: could Mark Sanchez have done the same?

The Jets have absolutely no rhythm or tempo on offense.  Sanchez’s fundamentals have gone into the toilet; everything that looked picture perfect about his play in week 1 has all but evaporated. He was intercepted on a screen pass. When receivers got open (a rarity), he missed them, and not just by inches, but yards. The sack-fumble at the end of the first half is the kind of mistake that happens to a first or second year quarterback. Unfortunately, Sanchez is in his fourth season.

And really, that was the moment that changed things for me.  Look back through my archives on this website. I have defended Mark Sanchez endlessly; his triumphs were always vindicating, his failures always a result of his inexperience, or a lack of execution by his teammates. In the end, what separates truly good players from the below-average ones, at any position in any sport, is consistency. I’ve made the case that I never believed in Shonn Greene because if you look through his game logs, he has almost never played two good games in a row in his career. If you apply that logic to Mark Sanchez, you can draw the same conclusions.  The flashes of brilliance have too often been evened out, and now weighed down, by performances like Sunday’s.

Make no mistake, I am not calling for Tim Tebow (he should be released or traded immediately).  After all, the quarterback of a modern NFL team needs to be able to throw the ball consistently. He needs to be able to make his teammates better. He needs to show command of an offense. I refuse to comment on Sanchez’s demeanor; in-game, post-game, whatever. I have no idea what the man is thinking or feeling. But what he showed on Sunday was that he is simply not improving as an NFL quarterback, and that he may even be regressing. What’s my conclusion?  That the answer to the Jets’ problems at the sport’s most important position may not be on the current roster. I hope I’m proven wrong in the coming weeks, but after yesterday…

I’m officially out of excuses.

  • jay

    Geno or Barkley?

  • Coach

    Joe, As your article states this is a front office issue. None of their “real” needs were addressed by draft, free agent or trade. To think you “flew” home just to see that type of performance what the $%^#^*%%$ were you thinking about on the train ride back to NYC! Your team is a version of House Wives of NJ, NY, LA where ever! Headlines, headlines and more headlines, for what! Greatest defensive coach ever! Really! Please remind all your young subscribers that he was NOT the D- Coordinator way back when the Ravens won the SB! He is and has been a sub-par coach. I know 2 AFC Championship Games, back to back no less. Happens all the time (See Philly with McNabb) and no one remembers unless you actually win one of them. Good luck the rest of the way. I truly feel bad for Revis a great player/teammate. Holmes, well you can’t be a “dick”, bad teammate and disrespectful to your opponent all the time and not have it catch up to you. Talk soon.

  • Mark Phelan

    After Buffalo and the 10 early points against Pitt I was ready to hail Sparano as the genius who unlocked the hidden Sanchez. Then Mark got hit on the helmet and we both woke up.

    Mark must be too dumb to coach. Too dumb to mature. Too undisciplined to develop the good habits necessary.

    For years now opponents have been quoted as saying Sanchez is easy to rattle and their game plan was to shake him up. Easy as that.

  • Angel

    Well Rob, you sound like a typical Jets fan.

    How quickly we forget Sanchez’ top rated week 1 performance.

    How quickly we forget Sanchez’ “lights out” playoff performances.

    Nevermind the below average O-line [who are pass blocking much better than they run block, by the way], but can’t let Sanchez get in rhythm.

    Nevermind the D-list receivers stepping in for the injured starters [true starters are: Dustin Keller, Stephen Hill, and now - Holmes].

    Nevermind the sub-par Defensive effort that was getting lit up even when Darrelle Revis was in.

    Sanchez played 2 crappy games in a row. He is inconsistent. Let’s not bench him quite yet.

    I see – I’m making excuses, right? What I’m doing is not analysis, or pinpointing the reasons for Sanchez’ failures — they’re just excuses.

    I hope the Jets stick with Sanchez long enough for me to say, “I told you so.”

    Buck up… and stop listening to the idiot NY Media — they’re always wrong.

  • mike

    to me the point isn’t that tebow is better (he’s not), just that throwing sanchez out there after the three weeks he’s just played isn’t a viable option. any team in the league would bench a qb playing this poorly. even if we just bench him for one game, you have to do it. he’s been let off the hook for years because he was supposedly developing. so what’s the excuse now?

    if he starts on monday, the message is that you are willing to give that game away. because anyone with eyes to see knows that sanchez is likely to GIVE AWAY half a dozen games every season. benching him, even if temporarily, is the only option.

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  • mike

    a quick look at his career numbers shows that sanchez gives away possession on more than 4% of his dropbacks (74 turnovers in 51 starts, around 1.5 per game). how can you justify starting THAT?

  • http://ng4 Jets Ville

    The problem with Sanchez is that the league has changed… Defenses are getting better and what is considered to be an Open WR has changed. In this NFL QBs will throw MANY ints… But he has to be able to get back up and throw even more touchdowns. Other than the Bills Raiders, Kansas, and Miami, Most defenses in the NFL can stay tight with WRs down the field. Sanchez lacks the accuracy to throw back shoulder throws consistently. If you look at Tanninghill who is making those throws with even LESS talent than Sanchez at WR than you realize that Sanchez has no problem hitting players that get open deep because they can adjust to the ball and slants, but other than that he is just terrible.

  • joe defiant

    Why has there only been one throw for over 25 yards in the last three games? Sanchez has a good deep ball. His turnovers don’t take place on deep balls. Short shovel passes and screens is where they come. Sparano may be worse than Schotty.