Sanchez Breakdown – A Swan Song for the Jets Quarterback

Rob Celletti breaks down the play of both New York Jets quarterbacks yesterday

The mob at MetLife Stadium got its wish.

Rex Ryan had seen enough, and rightly pulled Mark Sanchez out of yesterday’s game in the third quarter, unofficially ending this quarterback’s reign as starter for the Jets. Sanchez was given every chance, if not the support that he needed, to keep his job and he failed. The shame of this situation is that had Rex Ryan made the move earlier this season, Sanchez might have had an opportunity to respond and win his job back. Ryan didn’t make that move because the man behind Sanchez on the depth chart – initials, T.T. – is not a viable NFL quarterback.

Greg McElroy might not be either, but he provided what most backup quarterbacks provide a languishing team: a spark. All of a sudden, the Jets were exploding off the ball, opening holes for their running backs, and making catches in traffic that they weren’t making for their beleaguered starter. Which is not to say that Sanchez wasn’t absolutely god-awful on Sunday. He most certainly was. I feel confident saying that had he stayed in the game the Jets probably would have lost.

The fact remains that the Jets played harder and better and still only managed to score one touchdown (and turned the football over once, which could have been twice if not for a pretty lucky call that went their way). They are still a bad football team and Greg McElroy doesn’t change that. Luckily, they were playing a team with an even worse quarterback situation than their own. I’m amazed that Ryan Lindley made it out of high school playing football. He made Dave Brown look like Dan Fouts.

I have been a noted supporter of Mark Sanchez, and not for any real reason other than I wanted the Jets to win a lot of football games. In order to do that, you need “the guy” at the sport’s most important position. At times in 2009 and through most of 2010, Sanchez appeared to be “the guy”. However, when adversity struck, Sanchez handled it poorly. It affected his play. What Sanchez needed was some tough love, which his coach was reluctant to provide. He needed to lose his job, even for just a few plays, but not in Week 13 of what’s probably a lost season. It probably had to happen during one of the many blowouts that the Jets have suffered this season. But now, Greg McElroy is going to start the rest of the way in 2012, and he should. The Jets need to find out what they have in order to properly assess (ha! The idea of this front office assessing its roster properly is laughable) their quarterback situation going forward. So let’s talk a bit about the Mac Attack.

What struck me from my seat in MetLife Stadium – albeit a seat that requires the game to be viewed through a telescope – was McElroy’s physical similarity to a former Jets quarterback: Chad Pennington. I am not in any way saying that McElroy will be capable of replicating the success that pre-injury Pennington had – he’s thrown 7 NFL passes. But McElroy’s stature, mannerisms, questionable arm-strength, hell, even the way he handed the ball off, all brought back memories of those early 2000s Jets teams. I did like that he took a shot at a 1 on 1 matchup down the field right away, and was certainly impressed by the back-shoulder throw to Jeremy Kerley on third down, which essentially iced the game.

McElroy showed some mobility, and the Jets rolled him out more frequently in a quarter-plus than they rolled Sanchez out in the past two seasons combined. He didn’t appear to be confused by anything he saw from Arizona.

Look, Greg McElroy was a 7th round draft pick. More than likely, he’ll be nothing more than a backup-level NFL quarterback. And really, that’s the saddest part of today if you’re a Jets fan: the team is once again back to square one at its most important position. Very rarely do franchise quarterbacks fall out of the sky and into your lap. They need to be scouted, drafted, and developed for the modern game.

The Jets failed Mark Sanchez just as much as Sanchez failed them. And now they’re starting over. Less than two years removed from an AFC Championship Game, that’s just depressing, regardless of the excitement Greg McElroy provided yesterday.

  • Jay

    Great article – Sanchez is good enough to win on a very good team but not someone that will take you there without a great supporting cast. Sanchez is not a leader and the coaches never developed him properly. To show the difference is coaching styles, look to the Dec 2011 Patriot game where OC Bill O’Brien was seen yelling at one of the best QBs ever to play the game – Tom Brady (I hate to say his name but give credit where credit is due). After the game, Brady said: “I threw a pretty bad interception so he wasn’t happy about it. It was probably a long line of coaches and players that were pretty pissed at me after that, but Billy got to me first and he let me have it.” “I deserved it. We’re both pretty emotional guys. That’s what I deserve. You make bad plays, you’re supposed to get yelled at by your coaches.”

    This is how Rex, and his lack of accountability failed Sanchez and many other players on the Jets. You will never develop your full potential if those around you tell you how good you are and no one is pushing you to do better. Sanchez needed to be confronted on bad plays (as did Scott, Smith, Wilson, etc) not comforted with the fact that they have a relationship with a coach who demands friendship and not performance.

    I feel for Marc as he may have developed into a good QB with a Bill O’Brien type. I do not want the Jets to trade for Alex Smith as again, we do not have the coaching staff to mentor QBs and make them better.

  • Sd

    Well put. Sanchez failed the jets more than than they failed him in my opinion

  • Angel

    I think there is no question Sanchez delivered in his first two years while the Jets failed him year after year.

    I can forgive Mark and I wish him great success in the future wherever he lands.

    I cannot forgive the Jets. I never forgave them for the way they handled Boomer Esiason, Chad Pennington, Pete Kendal, Thomas Jones, Jericho Cotchery, Damien Woody, etc… and now Mark Sanchez.

    That goes double for the 3rd dumbest fan base in all of sports – my fellow Jets fans. They should all be ashamed of themselves for being so WILLING to tear everybody down, rather than rally around them for support. AND also for being so inept at identifying and analyzing the real problems that exist with this team, rather than what the media TELLS them is wrong with the team.

    But, I’ll continue to be a Jets fan… for some reason. Maybe because there is a lot more to like about the Jets than to hate about them. And, especially because I don’t watch the Jets for the fans—I watch despite them.

  • Brian

    When you look at the above mentioned former players that were let go by this team that had some gas left in the tank, you have to look at one person. Mike Tannabaum. He has single handedly torn this team down to what it is today. Team players that Magini brought in have been treated like crap and let go!! Rex, I like him, but apparantely he didn’t learn much from leadership school this past summer. Always boasting about his defense, wow! He should be one embarrassed individual to have a product like that on the field. I have never seen this many blowouts in one season, not even Kotite had this many blowouts!! This started during the Magini years when they dumped Pennington for Farve. Win now, screw the future!! Well gues what, the future is now and we still have nothing to show for it.