The Jets enter this season with a huge problem at quarterback. That is why they traded up to the 5th pick in the draft to take USC quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Almost everyone believes that Sanchez is going to be the answer to the Jets problem at QB (or at least a better answer than Clemens) under new head coach Rex Ryan. I believe however, that starting Mark Sanchez this year would be a tragic mistake for this franchise and here is why:
1. Sanchez has a better chance of flourishing if he takes at least a year to learn the system.
To start a rookie quarterback means that Rex Ryan is going to have to scale back is play calling to only include the plays that Sanchez knows. Clemens has been in the system for 3 years and can handle a lot more advanced play calling than Sanchez can. With Sanchez under center, the Jets will have to place a huge focus on their run game, which will make their offense predictable.
2. Sanchez doesn’t have the experience to start at the professional level.
Mark Sanchez only started 16 games at USC, and I think that this inexperience will make him a bust if he starts this year. It is true that Sanchez gave some great performances while starting for USC, but passing against Penn State’s defense, and passing against division rivals New England and Miami’s defenses are two completely different things. Now, it is true that both Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco started their rookie year against tough division opponents, and still made it to the playoffs, but Ryan played in 31 games and played all 4 years of college, (Sanchez only played 3) and Flacco played in 29 games; besides, players like Ryan and Flacco just aren’t a dime-a-dozen. While Clemens is also pretty green when it comes to experience (only 8 starts) it is still better than Sanchez who hasn’t started at all.
Sanchez has all the tools to become a great NFL quarterback, but he just isn’t ready to start this season. Next year or two years from now, with time to learn the system, Sanchez can easily become a franchise quarterback, but for right now, I believe that Clemens is the safer start.