New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is currently facing one of the most bizarre situations imaginable and it has clearly had a negative impact on his performance. It all comes down to his more popular backup Tim Tebow.
Sanchez isn't involved in a typical quarterback controversy where there's a clear starter and his job is in peril. He's trying to maintain his lead role while having to deal with special Tebow packages throughout the game, completely disrupting any flow on offense.
His struggles continued on Monday night against the Houston Texans. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes for a fourth consecutive game, turned the ball over twice and couldn't lead a comeback drive.
For the season, Sanchez has a 48 percent completion rate with six touchdowns and six interceptions. If you remove his terrific performance in the opener against what's turned out to be a vastly overrated Buffalo Bills defense, his numbers are dreadful.
He's having his worst season since he was a rookie. His quarterback rating has dropped 12 points from last season and the fourth-year starter doesn't look comfortable in the pocket, forcing a lot of throws and making bad decisions.
Sanchez was never going to become an elite QB. It was obvious during his first three years he wasn't going to develop into the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Yet, he was in fact making progress toward filling his role with the Jets.
New York is built to win through its defense and running game. It was a plan that worked with Sanchez under center in the past, but Shonn Greene's lack of production put a much larger burden on the passing game and things have gone downhill.
That's why the decision to bring in Tebow was a disaster waiting to happen. He didn't bring what the team needed and the coaching staff had to know he was going to attract a lot of attention from the fans and media.
In turn, Sanchez has regressed despite constant attempt from head coach Rex Ryan to inject confidence in him. And the Jets clearly don't have much faith in Tebow's passing ability, allowing him to throw just two passes in five games.
So the gradual progress Sanchez was making toward filling the role of game manager for New York has been lost and the team's future quarterback still isn't on the roster unless they believe Greg McElroy can eventually take the reigns.
All told, it's an experiment gone horribly wrong. It's amazing the Jets have still managed to go 2-3. The best thing Ryan can do is make a definitive decision, either Sanchez or Tebow, and stick with that quarterback 100 percent of the time.
These special formations and random substitutions aren't tricking opposing defenses, and are having a negative impact on the team's own offense. The Jets need more production from their offense if they are going to save the season from going off the tracks.
Sanchez isn't prepared to succeed with Tebow lurking over his shoulder on every possession. It's not a winning formula.