Mark Sanchez is frustrated with the New York Jets. After seemingly winning the quarterback competition against rookie Geno Smith during the preseason, the Jets put Sanchez in a bad situation. The coaching staff allowed Sanchez to stay in a meaningless preseason game into the fourth quarter. That is no way to treat any starting quarterback.
The cost of that awful decision could be the quarterback's future in the NFL.
Sanchez suffered a torn labrum which may require surgery. For now, he is attempting to recover via rehab and attempt a comeback in the 2013 season. However, Kristian Dyer, writing for USA Today, indicates that surgery may be necessary.
NFL Network analyst Mike Silver put it perfectly:
Make no mistake. He's frustrated with the Jets. And he has good reason. They put him in a bad situation when he had won the job. No one stood up and owned it the way Sanchez would have after throwing an interception. And then they downplayed the severity of the injury, I believe, because it made them look terrible.
So, even if Sanchez were to come back midway through the 2013 season, would his job even be available?
In short, if Smith continues to play good football, it won't.
Obviously, this situation would warrant frustration for anyone in Sanchez's situation. But does he actually deserve to be frustrated?
Perhaps a better question would be: Which side got the short end of the stick following the union of Sanchez and the Jets?
Sure, it's easy to point a finger at the quarterback. It's easy to bring up his errant throws, interceptions and the butt fumble. He has become the poster child for quarterback-driven mistakes at the NFL level. It has become easy to compare the mishaps of any quarterback to Sanchez.
That is not entirely fair. Looking back at his time with the Jets organization, Sanchez has not always received a fair shake.
After being drafted with the fifth overall selection in 2009, expectations for the quarterback began to soar.
It seemed as though Sanchez would answer the call. In his first career start against the Houston Texans, Sanchez completed 18 of his 31 attempts for 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception for an 84.3 quarterback rating.
That statistically sound game doomed the quarterback. That type of performance set the bar of expectations for the New York media.
Sanchez struggled at times throughout the rest of the season, finishing with a 63.0 passer rating. However, the team still made the postseason. Sanchez even posted a 92.7 passer rating over three playoff games and the team eventually lost in the AFC Championship Game.
Yes, expectations were high for "Sanchize."
The following year, it was more of the same story. Sanchez improved during the regular season, finishing with a 75.3 passer rating. Again, the team made the playoffs while Sanchez played well. He posted a 95.5 passer rating in the postseason as the Jets lost the AFC Championship Game for a second consecutive year.
This is where the story gets rather interesting.
Continuing to improve, Sanchez finished the 2011 season with a 78.2 passer rating—the best of his career. However, the team finished 8-8, missing the playoffs.
So, what gives?
There was a misconception by the Jets organization regarding Sanchez's abilities as a passer.
This team clearly viewed Sanchez as a player they could count on to win football games. They expected more from Sanchez than he was able to deliver. It could have been due to his high draft stock, his impressive start to his NFL career or his stellar play during the postseason.
Whatever it was, the Jets were wrong.
Sanchez is a game manager—nothing more. The problem with Sanchez at the helm starts to take shape when he is asked to do too much. Take this into consideration: In 2011, the Jets lost all but one game in which Sanchez threw more than 35 passes.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer did a fine job allowing Sanchez to stay within his own abilities as a passer. The problem was that the young quarterback was no longer supported by a great running game and defense—two things of the utmost importance to a game-managing quarterback.
Things just went downhill from there for Sanchez.
The following season, Schottenheimer was replaced by Tony Sparano and a new offensive system. To make matters worse, Sanchez's offensive line was also dismantled. A fissure in the locker room divided the team and personalities ran rampant.
The circus began.
New York media outlets were craving details about the development of Tebow and the ongoing controversy in the Jets' locker room. This added attention put Sanchez in an increasingly difficult position.
The writing was already on the wall. Sanchez finished the season with a lackluster 66.9 passer rating and the Jets missed the playoffs yet again.
Who received the brunt of the blame? Sanchez.
All of this led to the current saga regarding Sanchez's injury after the drafting of Smith.
So, does Sanchez deserve to be frustrated with the Jets?
Looking back over his five-year career, he has never really been given a proper chance to succeed. If there is blame to be placed in this situation, it would fall upon the shoulders of the Jets and their incompetence when dealing with Sanchez.
The only thing the Jets have been able to create so far in 2013 is yet another distraction—something that Sanchez is quite familiar with.
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