Mark Sanchez: Jets QB Is Not the Cause of Team's Recent Struggles

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIOctober 7, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks on from the sideline in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers on September 30, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.The San Francisco 49ers defeated the New York Jets 34-0.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Mark Sanchez has shouldered plenty of blame for the New York Jets’ struggles in the last three games, but he is not the cause of the team’s problems.

This is not to say that Sanchez has been playing well this season. He hasn’t. After four games, the Jets quarterback has completed just 49.2 percent of his passes while racking up 196.5 yards per game, five touchdowns and four interceptions.

These numbers reflect poor play, but given the situation he is in, he cannot be singled out as the main problem for the team. For the Jets, the problems are much deeper than just their subpar quarterback.

Questions surround every aspect of the offense. Shonn Greene is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry on his 68 attempts this season, and as a team, the Jets have scored just one rushing touchdown.

With Santonio Holmes out for the season with a Lisfranc injury to his foot, tight end Jeff Cumberland is the most targeted active receiver. Sanchez's options on the flanks are Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley.

But the most worrisome area is the offensive line, which was the unit’s greatest strength when the Jets went to consecutive AFC championship games. 

Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus notes (via ESPN) that the offensive line ranked 27th heading into this week in pass-blocking efficiency, which he defines as “the amount of pressure it has given up per pass blocking play.” 

The unit's ability to run-block has been lackluster as well. Football Outsiders uses a stat called Adjusted Line Yards to rank an offensive line’s ability to provide opportunities on rushing plays.

This stat assigns credit to the offensive line based on the amount of yardage the team gains on the ground. As a running back gets farther away from the line of scrimmage, the yards he gains are credited less to the offensive line. The Jets rank 20th in the NFL in Adjusted Line Yards.

The Jets' woes continue on the other side of the ball, and the defense is reeling after losing Darrelle Revis to a torn ACL. This was evident in the team’s 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Earlier in his career, Sanchez could rely on the defense to compensate for the offense, but that will not be the case this year, and the team ranks 21st in yards per game allowed. 

These statistics do not mean that Sanchez is a good quarterback stuck on a bad team. He has never proven that he is anything more than an average NFL QB, but it is difficult to believe that any player could succeed in Sanchez’s position. 

Regardless of how many fans call for Tim Tebow, the Jets have far more problems to worry about.