Mark Sanchez Would Be Successful If Given Another Starting Opportunity

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 17:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks to throw the ball against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 17, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Mark Sanchez can still be a success in the NFL. However, that success will almost certainly not come with the New York Jets.

The Jets drafted Geno Smith in the second round. It was a damning indictment of Sanchez, seeing as teams don't typically draft a quarterback in the second round if they trust their starter.

The team is apparently wasting no time in engineering Sanchez's exit. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Jets are weighing whether or not they'll cut the former USC Trojan. If they do, Sanchez will have Tim Tebow to thank:

Newly signed free-agent quarterback David Garrard has impressed the organization with his play and personality, and he is considered an ideal mentor for a young quarterback like Smith.

There also has been a slight change in the thought process surrounding Tim Tebow, who showed up to his team's training facility 15 pounds lighter. Tebow has won some support within the organization, sources familiar with the situation said.

Tebow appears lighter, faster and has worked to improve his throwing motion, which the Jets have noticed. The longer he is in the building, the more he wins support, one source said.

This could leave Sanchez as the odd man out. It's not the first time the Jets have considered this move, sources said.

Although Sanchez helped lead the Jets to consecutive AFC Championship games in 2009 and 2010, his time in New York can best be described in one word: buttfumble. That one play will live on in infamy and likely be the lasting image of Sanchez in a Jets uniform.

At this point, both Sanchez and the Jets would be better off parting ways.

The New York media is hyper-critical of any quarterback. Look at how much flak two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning has had to deal with still.

The biggest problem Sanchez had to deal with was expectations. He was taken by New York with the fifth overall pick and was immediately dubbed the "Sanchise." Each of his successes were praised heavily by the press, but more importantly, his failings were magnified on the back pages of every major tabloid.

Then came the Tebow drama.

Any quarterback, no matter his talent, would have had trouble dealing with the constant barrage of questions and speculation regarding whether Tebow was going to get more playing time.

Also in Sanchez's defense, he hasn't exactly been helped out by Jets receivers. Braylon Edwards was plagued by drops, and Santonio Holmes was good but you felt he could have offered more.

Sanchez can be successful by entering a new situation where there are virtually no expectations.

At this point, nobody will be expecting him to be a franchise QB. He's limited. Everyone knows this now. Teams will know where Sanchez's strength and weaknesses are and try to do what they can to put him in the best situation possible.

This offseason has seen a lot of movement by fringe quarterbacks. Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn have all switched teams. Say what you want about Sanchez, but he's at least as talented as any of those players.

With the rule changes the NFL is making, it's becoming easier and easier for quarterbacks—yes, even Sanchez—to be successful. It's nice to have an elite quarterback, but somebody like Sanchez can offer a nice stopgap until a long-term successor is found.

Still only 26 years old, Sanchez's career should be far from over even if the Jets cut him this offseason.