Mark Sanchez will make or break this next season. This, while not bold, is definitely a prediction I would take to the bank, as well as these three others:
1. Mark Sanchez will total over 4,000 yards.
Why? Because, quite simply, Sanchez is going to make that crucial jump from a young starter to a smart veteran, similar to Alex Smith's transition last season.
Dustin Keller will be Sanchez's number one target, but unlike last year, Sanchez has two other long-term targets to throw to besides Dustin Keller; these two are Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill.
Sanchez doesn't really have a good off-field rapport with Santonio Holmes, but on the field, they should be okay, as this is their third season together. He will be a Jet for at least four more seasons as well, so Sanchez fans (such as myself) can no longer blame new receivers as the cause for regression.
Since I'm in the prediction mood, I'd say that the receiving target statistics would look like this:
1. Dustin Keller, 73 receptions, 925 yards, 7 TDs
2. Santonio Holmes, 59 receptions, 859 yards, 8 TDs
3. Stephen Hill, 41 receptions, 710 yards, 6 TDs
4. Jeremy Kerley, 28 receptions, 461 yards, 3 TDs
Lofty? Yes, but if he has any consistency this season, this one is a definite possibility.
2. Mark Sanchez will develop new favorite receivers.
Patrick Turner, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller.
These are the only receivers that Mark Sanchez has had for two or more seasons. Dustin Keller is already a great teammate for Sanchez, as he brings in balls reliably, is a good red-zone target and has Sanchez's back.
With his contract expiring at season's end, Sanchez knows that the Jets might not be able to re-sign him. That means that now's the chance for Sanchez to gain some rapport with new receivers. Chaz Schilens might not be back next year either, so I predict Sanchez will work with Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Patrick Turner more extensively.
Hill is going to be a deep threat that Sanchez needed last season. Jeremy Kerley could finally become a short play possession receiver, hauling in short 8- to 9-yard throws. Patrick Turner would be a big and tall target that Sanchez would be able to work with for years on end.
Couple Santonio Holmes into what has been called a mess, and the Jets receiving corps will be very strong by next season.
Another veteran addition right now would come in handy, especially a wide receiver like Jabar Gaffney or Chris Cooley—one who knows football well and may stay for more than one season.
3. The Sanchize will lead the Jets to 10 regular season wins.
No, he will not win each game for them in the fourth quarter or anything, but he will play in Jets games that the Jets win.
With such a strong defense and a decent offense, this team reminds me a lot of the 2009 Jets, although this defense may be even better than before, and the offense is definitely better.
Think of it like this, the Jets made the conference championship with a rookie Sanchez, Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery as the starting receivers, and a defense featuring Kris Jenkins, Shaun Ellis and Jim Leonhard, as well as Kerry Rhodes.
Now, the Jets have players like Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Quinton Coples, Mo Wilkerson, Sione Pouha, LaRon Landry, Antonio Cromartie and Yeremiah Bell.
If that isn't enough that the Jets can make the playoffs, maybe the fact that Sanchez will have over 4,000 yards is enough.
So, are these realistic predictions? What do you think of Mark Sanchez this season? Excited as I am? Leave a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for reading.