New York Jets – Sanchez Best Served As Backup?

TJ Rosenthal examining the ramifications of Mark Sanchez potentially starting the season out as the New York Jets backup QB

It may not be the worst thing in the world for Mark Sanchez, if Geno Smith ends up getting the starting job in week one. The Jets coaching staff and fan base already have a short rope waiting for Sanchez anyway. If Smith falters or goes down, Sanchez could re-enter under different circumstances. Needing only to perform in more meat and potatoes second string fashion. If Smith succeeds, the Sanchize, could enjoy a season with no hits to the body, while collecting a healthy paycheck for it. Before going on his way to a similar role even further under the radar…as a backup most likely elsewhere, where even less will be expected of him.

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New York Jets Fans Rooting Guide For Training Camp

Mike Donnelly presents the New York Jets Guide To Training Camp – What Fans should be rooting for

With training camp getting started this past weekend, New York Jets fans have been so excited that their thoughts and hopes about the team have been all over the place. Some think that the team is headed toward a top-5 draft choice next year, while others think the team is going to be the surprise story of the NFL and make the playoffs. Some think Rex should be fired, and others think he should get an extension. Some fans are Team Sanchez and others are Team Geno. Well, none of us can be totally sure where this season is headed exactly, but what I can tell you is what you should be rooting for to happen during this training camp (other than no injuries of course). Here is the Jets Fan’s Rooting Guide for Training Camp:

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New York Jets Fact or False: Hits & Misses of 2012 Edition

Chris Gross brings back New York Jets Fact or False with a look at our biggest hits & misses from the 2012 season.

Welcome back to another season of New York Jets Fact or False! Last year, we introduced this column to provide some entertaining predictions throughout the entire season, with topics beginning from OTAs in early May all the way through the end of the season when we just began to predict whether or not Mark Sanchez could last an entire series without doing something idiotic.

For our return edition of Fact or False, we take a look at our biggest hits and misses from the 2012 season. While there were plenty of issues we predicted with pinpoint accuracy, there are probably more we completely whiffed on. Today, we will look at the three biggest points we hit on the head, and the three biggest points we couldn’t have been more wrong about.

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New York Jets – Learn From Your Sanchez Mistakes

The New York Jets must learn from their mistakes with Mark Sanchez when it comes to bringing Geno Smith along

It is no secret the New York Jets didn’t create an ideal environment for Mark Sanchez to succeed in, especially the previous couple of seasons. Yes, he gets the majority of the blame for not elevating his play in 2011 and 2012 but you are kidding yourself if you think he was put into a favorable situation. What is important now is that the Jets learn from their mistakes with Sanchez and work to create a quarterback friendly environment for Geno Smith. What does that involve?

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Turn On The Jets 12 Pack – Goddamn Mark Sanchez Edition

The Turn On The Jets 12 pack – With thoughts on our embattled quarterback, Mark Sanchez

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! 

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Turn On The Jets Friday Q & A

With our beloved editor-in-chief, Joe Caporoso, away on business, scouting locations for the new Turn On The Jets headquarters, the normal Friday 12 pack will be replaced with a 12 part Q & A on all things Jets, NFL, and NFL Draft. We received some excellent questions via twitter last night, so let’s not waste any time getting into them. Thanks to everyone who participated!

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New York Jets – Embrace The Rebuild

The New York Jets and their fanbase need to embrace the needed rebuilding process that will occur during the 2013 season

The New York Jets current level of roster talent and salary cap situation makes rebuilding an inevitable necessity. Rebuilding is the type of word people don’t hesitate to throw around when they are watching their team get Butt-Fumbled on National Television to their “biggest rivals” but when it comes to the actual practice, teams and fans get squeamish about it. Make no mistake, the New York Jets best approach to building a sustainable long term contender is cleaning house and making roster decisions with an eye towards 2014 and beyond, not 2013.

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New York Jets – The TOJ-Bag – Volume 1

Mike Donnnelly with his inaugural “TOJ Bag” – Answering your semi-serious important questions about the New York Jets

Welcome to the first edition of the TOJ mailbag! I’ve been getting asked some pretty crazy and hilarious questions lately, whether from my friends, readers of this site, or on Twitter, and I figured why not put them all in one place and give some detailed answers to the questions that REALLY matter. So here it is, the TOJ-bag, volume 1. If you have a question you want answered, be sure to ask on Twitter with the hashtag #TOJBag, or even throw one into the comment section here and I’ll try to get it answered in the next mailbag. Also, I didn’t include anybody’s twitter handles because I don’t know if anybody wants that. So if you do want a question answered and want your twitter name or whatever listed, just let me know and we’ll hook that up. Enjoy!

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New York Jets Hire Marty Mornhinweg As Offensive Coordinator

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In the wake of the New York Jets announcing the hiring of John Idzik as the organization’s next General Manager, the coaching dominoes have already begun to fall into place. Shortly after agreeing to terms with Idzik, the Jets have hired Marty Mornhinweg as Offensive Coordinator. Both of these hirings finally give the Jets a bit more stability moving forward, after a three week stint with both positions unoccupied.

Mornhinweg joins the Jets after 10 years spent in Philadelphia with the Eagles. Mornhinweg was hired by Andy Reid in 2003 as a senior assistant, became assistant head coach in 2004, and finally took over play calling duties in 2006 as the team’s Offensive Coordinator, a position he held through last season, prior to Reid being fired. During his seven seasons as Eagles’ Offensive Coordinator, Mornhinweg yielded five top 10 offenses and three top 5 offenses, while never finishing outside of 15th in overall offense. Before his tenure in Philadelphia, Mornhinweg worked in Green Bay as the Quarterbacks coach during the Packers’ 1996 Super Bowl XXXI championship season, followed by 4 seasons in San Francisco, serving as both Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach under Head Coach Steve Mariucci, and finally a brief stint as Head Coach of the Detroit Lions from 2001-2002.

MM2A long descendant of the Bill Walsh tree, Mornhinweg brings in vast experience in the west coast offense, indicating the Jets will be making a major shift from Tony Sparano’s failed Ground and Pound approach. A shift like this will be beneficial to the Jets, who have been far behind the ball in terms of offensive schematics over the past couple of years. A shift to a west coast style system will be a complete 180 degree spin for Gang Green. Previously under Ryan, the Jets have expressed their desire to be a run first team. Conversely, a west coast offense will use the pass to open up the run. How successful New York will be in their first season in this type of offense is unclear, but this kind of change was an absolute necessity considering the league’s recent offensive trends.

Mornhinweg also brings in an excellent history of quarterback experience. Having played the position in college at the University of Montana, Mornhinweg has been a key instrument in the development of players like Brett Favre (1995, 1996), Steve Young (1997-1999), Jeff Garcia (San Francisco 1999-2000, Philadelphia 2006, 2009), Donovan McNabb (1999-2009), and Michael Vick (2009-2012) among others. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Jets give Mornhinweg a chance to attempt to resurrect the career of Mark Sanchez, the former 5th overall pick who has regressed mightily in his previous two seasons as a pro. Sanchez played in a west coast offense under Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian during his days at USC with high success – 3,207 yards, 34 TD, 10 INT, 65.8 completion percentage during his final season. It is fair to assume that John Idzik will sit down with Mornhinweg to pick his brain about Sanchez before any decisions are made on the embattled quarterback’s future in New York.

Speculation will also begin to circulate about the Jets acquiring Michael Vick and Matt Flynn, both of whom have ties to Mornhinweg and Idzik, respectively, and are expected to become available, either via free agency or trade, when the new league year begins in March. However, internal decisions will likely need to be made at the quarterback position before any additional players are acquired.

This is a very solid hire for the Jets. Mornhinweg brings experience, innovation, and most importantly, something brand new. How well his schematics and system will translate to the current personnel are still unknown, but New York’s offensive ideology is finally beginning to head in the right direction.

Film Room – Solving The Sanchez Problem

Steve Bateman breaks down the film to demonstrate three of Mark Sanchez’s biggest problems

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In recent days and weeks there’s been a great deal of attention directed towards the New York Jets search for new staff. Yet while it’s understandable that fans are anxious to learn who’ll be hiring the players and calling the plays next season, arguably the most important addition at Florham Park this year may also be one of the least heralded: with Mark Sanchez’s career now seemingly at tipping point, the man who’s hired to replace Matt Cavanaugh as QB coach could well be the pivot around which the team’s fortunes turn.

Sanchez was bad this season – there’s no doubting that – but to give us a better idea of where it all went wrong (and where work needs to be done this off-season) let’s take a look at a few plays from 2012 that highlight some of his greatest difficulties all too clearly…

We’ll begin by considering Sanchez’s difficulty in making pre-snap reads, and there’s no better example to be found than back in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins. The game’s tied at 10 apiece in the third quarter, and the Jets are facing a 3rd & Goal from the 7-yard line. Although the Jets appear to be out in a 4 WR set, they are actually in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE) with Jeff Cumberland split wide to the right (Picture 1, below). The Dolphins have responded with their big nickel package.

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The play has been designed with Stephen Hill (yellow route) as the primary receiver while to his outside Cumberland runs a short hook in order that Hill can draw single coverage in the back of the endzone.

As a QB making his pre-snap read, the first thing that Sanchez has to be aware of is his protection scheme. The Dolphins are showing a 7-man pass rush (4 down linemen along with 2 LBs plus 1 safety (circled in red) all showing blitz). Consequently, there’s a very good chance that the Jets’ 6-man protection scheme (the 5 offensive linemen plus RB Bilal Powell) will be overwhelmed.

This initial read should also trigger a red-hot awareness that if the three circled defenders are all blitzing, the center of the field will be left absolutely unprotected. Suddenly, to any QB who’s confident about his ability to adapt a play at the line of scrimmage (Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are masters of this) Santonio Holmes (purple route) becomes the most appealing option on the field.

As the play develops (Picture 2) the abandoned tract of center-field looms large (green area) as Holmes gains a step on his defender and breaks into it. Meanwhile, there’s a problem with the play design as Cumberland has taken his route too deep, meaning that the window where Sanchez had been hoping to deliver the ball (red area) is now effectively double-covered. The play can still be aborted, however, and the lead can be taken via a straightforward field goal if a pass is delivered to either of the yellow areas.

Picture 2
Picture 2

The fact that despite all of this Sanchez dumbly floats the ball straight into the most dangerous area of the field (where it’s intercepted by Chris Clemons) is concerning to say the least (Picture 3). Not only does it indicate an unwillingness to deviate from the playbook by pulling the plug and taking a safe option, it also suggests that he entirely failed to compute how the blitzing LBs and safety would impact on the route being run by Holmes (who is now absolutely wide open in the endzone). This is one area where Sanchez simply must show considerable improvement between now and September.

Picture 3

The second problem that we’ll consider is Sanchez’s difficulty in knowing when to swallow the ball and take a sack. Here we’ll look at why this is such a problem by looking back at the Week 13 clash against the Arizona Cardinals.

Below we see the Jets about to run a play-action pass from 21 personnel (2 RBs, 1 TE) on 1st & 10 from their own 12-yard line, while the Cardinals are in a base 3-4 package (Picture 4). Although the player movements are detailed, they are not that important except for the those of the two middle linebackers (red) who will blitz the A-gap (ie the small space between the center and the guards on either side of him).

Picture 4
Picture 4

In next to no time the blitz has leaked into the backfield and Sanchez is under intense pressure (Picture 5). For reasons unknown, Sanchez apparently becomes briefly seized by the belief that he’s the greatest QB to have ever played the game and attempts a ridiculous throw from an absolutely horrible position where one leg is in the air while the other is balanced on tiptoe. (I often compare playing QB to boxing in that there’s very little difference between the techniques that allow for the throwing of a powerful, accurate punch and a similarly lethal pass. I probably don’t need to point out that Muhammad Ali’s success wasn’t built on a tendency to throw punches while falling over backwards and tiptoeing on one leg).

Picture 5
Picture 5

Unsurprisingly the ball wobbles out of Sanchez’s hand and loops into midfield where former Jet Kerry Rhodes immediately breaks on the throw and makes as easy an interception as he’s ever likely to. Thanks entirely to Sanchez’s difficulty in accepting that sometimes it’s best to take one for the team, the Cardinals have a 1st & 10 from the Jets 26-yard line. If Sanchez is to retain his role as the Jets’ starting QB in 2013 he must come to understand his limitations: while it’s great to believe in one’s own abilities, self-delusion is a surefire road to ruin.

Our last consideration is a problem that’s haunted Sanchez throughout his professional career, namely an inability to look off a safety so as to secure single coverage for a receiver running a deep pattern. Let’s look at an example taken from the Week 15 match-up against the Tennessee Titans…

We’re into the final quarter and the Jets are trailing 14-10. The Jets are once again in 21 personnel and are matched up against a 3-deep zone defense run from the Cardinals’ 4-3 under package (Picture 6). Braylon Edwards (circled) is the intended target on the play, and safety Michael Griffin is highlighted in green.

Picture 6
Picture 6

Although he briefly scans center-field to establish whether or not both safeties have dropped deep (thereby giving himself an easy read of the coverage scheme) Sanchez soon switches his gaze towards Edwards (Picture 7).

Picture 7
Picture 7

Griffin backpedals but keeps his head turned towards Sanchez so that he can read his eyes as he continues staring at Edwards (Picture 8).

Picture 8
Picture 8

This enables him to commit towards the direction of the throw before it’s even been released, with the result that despite Edwards’s wily attempts to act as defender and knock the ball away, Griffin is in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and is consequently able to collect an easy pick (Picture 9).

Picture 9
Picture 9

In conclusion, although these problems are by-and-large correctable through coaching it would be foolish to presume that the new QB guru – whoever he may be – will have an easy task in helping to resurrect Sanchez’s tarnished reputation. Because while it’s possible to identify the errors and implement drills that are designed to correct them, the only person capable of righting these wrongs is Sanchez himself.

Will he ever learn? I guess that’s the eight million dollar question.