New York Jets: Can Mark Sanchez Be the Next Eli Manning?

Anthony CorrenteContributor IApril 10, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 29:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants talks with Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets after their game on August 29, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Mark Sanchez, you are officially on notice.  It's clear that the New York Jets acquiring Tim Tebow is meant to push Sanchez harder than he has been in his three previous years with New York, but it is not entirely fair to write Sanchez off.  He has shown flashes of brilliance, not that flashes are enough to sustain him or the Jets faithful. Couple Sanchez's sometimes erratic play with the fact that Tim Tebow, the most popular backup quarterback in the NFL, is now in town and it's clear that Sanchez has to play to step up if he wants to silence the critics.

While the odds may be stacked against him in an unforgiving city, Mark Sanchez could be poised for his true breakout season in the NFL. 

Though many people might not admit it today, Eli Manning also had his fair share of doubters. Though he has now gone on to become one of the best quarterbacks in the league, the story was a little different in his first three seasons.

Manning's personal progression as a quarterback accounts for this, but also the fact that the Giants have done a tremendous job surrounding him with talented players.

Sanchez is at his best with a solid running game and a good defense.  He thrives off the play-action, and can make plays with his feet once he is outside the pocket.  New York's running game and offensive line regressed last season, which could account for the dip in Sanchez's numbers.

Eli has been at his best when he is surrounded by dynamic playmakers like Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, and bruising running back tandems like Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Throw in an elite defense to the mixture and it is no wonder the Giants have won two championships in five years.

Mark Sanchez has been at his best when he has Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes out wide, and Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, or LaDainian Tomlinson behind him.

Sometimes it's forgotten that Sanchez is still a young talent who only started 16 games in college.  His career has been brief, but at times he's shown why the Jets front office made the decision to trade up to select him fifth overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.  

If the Jets can manage to get back on track with a solid draft class this year, it is entirely likely that Sanchez could thrive under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's system.  

Who knows, it just might be enough to hold off the chants for Tebow.