Today’s Turn On The Jets 12 Pack is dedicated to Mark Sanchez: our lazy, coddled, mentally weak, California hippie, noodle armed quarterback….as most Jets “fans” will call him. On to the 12 pack!
1. Yesterday a story was released about Mark Sanchez working with Jeff Garcia for the previous few weeks on learning Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. The response from most people was jokes, annoyance (he did the same thing last year with Chad Pennington and look what happened) or biter anger…all of which are perplexing responses for a Jets “fan.” Sanchez could easily kick back this off-season, collect his paycheck and look forward to carrying on his career somewhere else next season as a backup, because even if he does nothing in 2012 there will be another team who gives him a chance. Yet, there is “HOW DARE HE” outrage over him trying to get better this off-season and learn a new offense? If you replaced Sanchez’s name with Tim Tebow name in the above article there’d be endless carrying on about his “INTANGIBLES AND DESIRE…AND LOOK HOW HE CARES, WHAT A WARRIOR!” What is Tebow doing to learn the Jets new offensive system, he is still on the team right? How about Greg McElory or the new belle of the ball for Jets fans, David Garrard?
There is nothing to fault in Sanchez trying to get better. One of the most ridiculous claims about Sanchez is that he lacks work ethic. It is an assumption that is made because of where he is from, what he looks like and what college he went to. By every account, Sanchez has constantly been a hard worker and put in the time in the off-season, basically living at the team’s facility, organizing his Jets West Camp and seeking out mentorship in the off-season.
2. There is no logic in any supporter of the New York Jets to hope Mark Sanchez plays poorly in 2013. If he plays well, the Jets will be better and his trade market will increase. If he plays really well, the Jets will be better and the Jets have a viable competitor for a starting job in 2014. If he bombs out, the Jets are going to be that much worse and he will be gone with no compensation in return.
3. Is it understandable to be frustrated with Sanchez and dislike his potential as a quarterback? Yes. He was awful last year and a primary reason in the Jets being a 6-10 team. Let’s get that out of the way, there is no defense for how he played last year, particularly against Arizona, Tennessee, New England and a handful of other games where he truly looked completely lost and out of place being a starter in the NFL. He was put into an awful offensive situation and didn’t respond well. The Jets had the worst skill position group in the NFL last season, seriously they were starting Jeff Cumberland, Chaz Schilens and Shonn Greene down the stretch with Clyde Gates and Mardy Gilyard seeing major playing time. The Tim Tebow Wildcat Shuffle and Tony Sparano’s playcalling didn’t help either but blame ultimately falls on Sanchez for being so sloppy with his mechanics and the football. He let a bad situation snowball on him, something a quarterback can never do in the NFL.
4. Is it understandable to think Sanchez could perform better in a new offensive system and with some upgrades around him on offense? Of course it is. To say Sanchez is a lost cause as a NFL quarterback is ignorant of the past. Jets fans argue for David Garrard by citing 2010 stats out of one corner of their mouth, while dismissing Sanchez’s 2010 performance out of the other side. You can’t tell me “Mark Sanchez is just mentally weak, he has never risen to the moment and every Jets win he was involved with, he deserves ZERO credit for.” You can’t quarterback entire games and not get some measure credit for the result. You can’t tell me there aren’t elements of this guy’s game that translate well to the NFL when we have seen him play VERY well in Pittsburgh in January in an AFC Championship Game. Sanchez’s playoff numbers and ability to make plays down the stretch to win 2010 regular season games, do mean there is some measure of ability and talent there.
5. Inconsistency has always shadowed Sanchez’s Jets performances. In 2009 and 2010, he would string together a few strong games and then bomb out in spectacular fashion for a game or two, and then repeat the cycle. In 2009, 15 of Sanchez’s 20 interceptions came in 4 games! In 2010, 7 of his 13 interceptions came in 3 games. In 2011, the interceptions started to become more spread out and no longer were cancelled out by late game heroics or occasional highly productive games. There was also no playoff run where Sanchez rose to the occasion and inspired hope for the following year. In 2012, the bottom fell out. It is on Sanchez for not improving and it is on the Jets for not realizing, he needs at least a competent supporting cast to be a competent quarterback. He doesn’t need an elite supporting cast on offense because what the Jets had in 2009 and 2010 certainly wasn’t elite but it also wasn’t bottom five in the NFL in terms of talent.
6. What surprises me is the amount of anger geared toward the quarterback on the field for 4 of the 6 best Jets wins in the past 25 years. There is no respect or recollection of those times among Jets fans, just a caricature of a lazy, pretty boy who doesn’t give a damn about his team and is happy to take their money. How many starts has Sanchez missed due to injury? He was pummeled all throughout 2011 and kept getting back up but is apparently soft and scared. He has no work ethic but goes out of his way to work hard and learn his new offense (3rd in 5 years) every off-season. You don’t like the player or think he is the answer long term, understandable. But why the seeming personal hatred and the rooting against him?
7. The Jets fan-base is generally a blue-collar bunch from my understanding and I think a large part of the vitriol comes from Sanchez’s looks and California background. People are mad he was on magazine covers and dates famous actresses, but can you blame guy? He went to the AFC Championship Game in his first two years and was asked to do magazine covers and accepted them. Would you turn down Kate Upton and Eva Longoria? I wouldn’t. The assumption is that because he is a good looking guy who is on magazine covers that means he doesn’t work hard, again perception isn’t reality in this case.
8. Despite everything previously said, this is most likely Sanchez’s last year in New York. It is hard to see him putting together a year strong enough on this rebuilding team to be a serious option in 2014. The 2012 circus was likely too much to overcome and a clean slate may actually be the best thing for his career. He could have a decent bounce-back season in Mornhinweg’s offense but what is really enough to justify keeping him at this point, outside of a career year and a playoff appearance?
9. Does writing an article like this make me a Sanchez Apologist? I suppose so. But really I’m just perplexed by a desire of so many Jets fans to see this guy fail. I also think it is ignorant to act like dealing with the Tebow Circus, an awful cast of wide receivers and tight ends, along with a mediocre crop of running backs didn’t negatively affect Sanchez’s play last year.
10. When it comes to this season, Sanchez is the safest bet to be your opening day starter. There will be a much quicker hook than last season but week one he is most likely to be under center.
11. It will be interesting to see how much more Marty Mornhinweg can play to Sanchez’s strengths this year, which is throwing slant routes, in-cuts and getting him outside of the pocket. Ultimately it won’t matter if Sanchez doesn’t improve his mechanics, ball security and ability to allow bad plays to roll off his back.
12. There is talent there…somewhere…just not sure if we are ever going to see it again in a Jets uniform.