Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets are an atrocity right now.
That's how sickening the Monday Night Football performance was against the Tennessee Titans.
For the sake of Jets fans everywhere, New York must completely revamp its team courtesy of Week 16's disappointing loss.
Sanchez threw four interceptions, completed a dismal 46.4 percent of his throws and fumbled the final snap. He can't be given the benefit of the doubt for a bad snap on the game's final play, either, because New York should not have been in such a desperate position to begin with.
Credit Rex Ryan's defense, because it put on a Herculean effort by holding the Titans to just 14 points despite Sanchez's five turnovers.
Even still, Gang Green recorded more first downs, was penalized fewer times, won the time of possession battle and finished significantly better than Tennessee on third down—the Jets converted 41.6 percent to just 15.3 percent for Tennessee.
The end result, however, was not only a loss for New York, but also elimination from playoff contention. The aftermath ultimately cost Sanchez his job. Per the Jets' official Twitter feed:
#EA Greg McElroy has been named the Jets starting QB for Sunday’s game with the San Diego Chargers.— New York Jets (@nyjets) December 18, 2012
Consider this move the beginning of a new era. Or we can at least be optimistic about it.
Looking at Sanchez's production throughout the course of the 2012 season, McElory should have gotten the nod sooner than later. With two measly touchdown passes to eight interceptions over the previous four games, the former USC Trojan simply was not getting the job done.
In this pass-happy movement of pro football, every team must possess the ability to effectively throw the ball when needed. And that's at the very least.
Since Sanchez was drafted, though, the Jets have finished a regular season ranked no higher than No. 21 in passing offense. Only because the ground game and defense were so stellar at the time did Sanchez make two straight AFC title games.
As for the rest of the offense, it's certainly difficult to examine from such porous quarterback play.
Give Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees this same receiving corps and each will flourish. That's simply the difference a team gets with an elite signal-caller at the helm.
Sanchez was actually playing well, had led two substantive drives, and that’s when Tony Sparano decided to finally give Tebow his first full series of the season. In week 15. Beautiful. We now officially know Sparano’s record in Miami was no fluke.
As for general manager Mike Tannenbaum, he delights in presenting the Jets’ record in the big picture, delights in reminding everyone how this is, in many ways, the golden age of Jets history. If that’s so, it is only a reminder of how truly wretched much of that history is. If this season has taught him anything, it should be this: He and the other men who run the Jets have not cornered the market on football wisdom.
We can't fault much on the offensive line or ground game, because Gang Green slammed for 146 yards on 30 carries. On the season, New York ranks No. 10 in rushing offense and averages 3.9 yards per carry.
Where do the Jets need to rebuild the most?
Given the abysmal passing game, Jets fans can't ask much more from Shonn Greene and Co. The defense isn't the issue either.
Minus Darrelle Revis and New York still ranks No. 2 against the pass. Now, without question do the Jets need to improve against the run, as giving up a 94-yard touchdown run to Chris Johnson turned out to be the difference.
The Jets are older defensively than at first glance, however.
Linebacker Bryan Thomas is 33 and Bart Scott and Calvin Pace are both 32. Defensive tackle Sione Pouha is 33 and defensive back Yeremiah Bell is 34.
So, along with the warranted quarterback change, the defense must continue getting younger at all levels. Refusing to address this, Gang Green will echo the frustrations from 2011 and all of 2012.
In short, making adjustments now to impact the immediate future is required for New York to become AFC playoff contenders. On the bright side, expectations won't be high enough to add pressure for 2013.
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