Across the board, Sanchez's numbers have stayed consistently average.
In 2009, his rookie season, Sanchez completed 53.8 percent of 364 passes for 2,444 yards (6.71 yards per attempt), 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. His passer rating finished at 63.0.
Not much has changed four years later, although the Jets are allowing him to throw the football more.
Through eight games, Sanchez has completed 52.9 percent of 272 passes for 1,736 yards (6.38 yards per attempt), 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His passer rating is a touch better at 72.8.
To summarize: Much like his rookie season, Sanchez is misfiring at a rate that ranks amongst the lowest in the NFL, his yards per attempt is below 7.00 and the resulting passer rating is well below even the mediocre quarterbacks in the game.
In fact, those major numbers (completion percentage, yards per attempt, passer rating) have stayed nothing more than average for the duration of Sanchez's career.
Here are his four-year numbers for each category:
- Completion percentage: 2009, 53.8; 2010, 54.8; 2011, 56.7; 2012, 52.9. Career: 54.9.
- Yards per attempt: 2009, 6.71; 2010, 6.49; 2011, 6.40; 2012, 6.38. Career: 6.45.
- Passer rating: 2009, 63.0; 2010, 75.3; 2011, 78.2; 2012, 72.8. Career: 73.2.
Where is the necessary progression? Taking the next step?
At some point, all young quarterbacks have a moment where the light bulb goes on. Most don't get four years to flick at the switch, but Sanchez has, and he's done little with the chance.
Of course, numbers don't tell the complete story.
Sanchez was coddled and protected with a strong running game and an elite defense during his rookie season. Even with mistakes, the Jets won and won big. And Sanchez helped get his team to the doorstep of the Super Bowl.
Are the New York Jets better off at the quarterback position in 2012 than they were in 2009?
Four years down the road, New York's supporting case has eroded, and the offense is relying on Sanchez considerably more.
Still, that doesn't excuse the lack of progression from Sanchez. Efficiency is something a quarterback can control, and there simply hasn't been an improvement in any area for Sanchez over the last four years.
Which brings us to the overall problem: New York doesn't have a considerably better quarterback in 2012 than they did back in 2009.
Unless Sanchez takes that next step, the Jets will likely continue to struggle on the offensive side of the football.