Mark Sanchez is very familiar with that look of futility.
After yet another putrid offensive performance in New York's 14-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 15, the Jets have officially been eliminated from postseason contention. There was an outside chance that Sanchez would miraculously turn things around and lead his team to a backdoor playoff berth. Instead, he completed less than half his passes and threw four interceptions.
That was just the most recent of the Sanchize's many stinkers this season. The debacle in Tennessee was his fourth game with multiple interceptions and his seventh with a completion percentage below 50.0. On the other hand, he has just three 300-yard passing weeks and two multi-touchdown games.
Care to look deeper? Well, since the Jets' bye in Week 9, Sanchez did happen to post one of his 300-yard games. Even so, his offense only put up 19 points that week against the New England Patriots. In the other five games, however, Sanchez hasn't even topped 200 yards passing, and he has thrown for three touchdowns and nine picks.
Oh, one more thing. In Week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts, Sanchez did throw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, but he also recorded just 82 yards, his lowest output on the season. Even his more productive games are marred by comical stat lines. So there's that.
It's not worth getting into where Sanchez ranks against other NFL quarterbacks. We know it's not going to turn out pretty, and we might as well stop considering him an NFL QB at this point.
What's more constructive to point out is how this is not entirely Sanchez's fault. He is culpable for his own play, of course, but the team must be held accountable for the situation it has put him in.
The Jets are currently trotting Sanchez out there with a mess of an offensive line and a laughable lack of receivers. Some of this must be chalked up to injuries, but the loss of Santonio Holmes doesn't explain everything. This team entered training camp with the intention of starting the incomparable Wayne Hunter at right tackle. No quarterback should have to line up behind him.
For three seasons before this, the Jets leaned on their staunch defense and just wanted Sanchez to manage the game, hedging on his development down the line. Why they gave him a massive contract before he showed any progress is a mystery.
That said, they have never given him any decent offensive coaching or QB mentoring, so his consistently subpar production should not come as a surprise.
Once upon a time, the Jets regarded Sanchez highly enough that they traded up to take him fifth overall in the 2009 NFL Draft. They committed to him to lead the franchise, but they did not foster his development as a player. Left largely to his own devices, Sanchez has become one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory
After four years of this experiment, irreparable damage has been done to each side. There is nothing left in New York for Mark Sanchez, and his time as a QB at the highest level is rapidly coming to a close.
As for the Jets, they have to eat Sanchez's massive contract and move on. The only thing that can help them now is a new quarterback.