For the better part of the last decade I have loved the New York Jets. For the first part of my life I only cared about baseball, supporting the New York Mets through thick and thin. Soon after becoming a New York Jets fan I discovered this road would continue, the ups and the very, very downs.
This past Sunday marked what I hope will be a turning point for the New York Jets. After a few seasons of complete indifference it seems like the team has a definite direction. Eric Mangini, Chad Pennington, Brett Favre have all moved on and Kellen Clemens has now taken a back seat. We are all enthralled by the man, the myth, the legend, Mark Sanchez.
In his debut, Mark Sanchez through for over 250 yards, while throwing for his first ever touchdown. It wasn't the win, it wasn't the yards and it wasn't the touchdown that made me smile, it was the game play. With a strong Rex Ryan defense now in place, the Jets need a quarterback who can manage the game, not take big sacks, scramble and throw with accuracy. Sanchez has brought all of that and more to the table.
His presence in the pocket was the most impressive thing. He stood in patiently waiting for an opening and when the time was right, hit his guy more times than none. Furthermore, it was great to see the offense not only moving the ball but converting on third downs. Over the past two years under Eric Mangini and further back to the days of Herman Edwards, the Jets had always played it safe on third downs electing to run for four yards when eight were needed. That long clinging phobia is now pushed aside as Sanchez threw for 190 yards and his touchdown on third downs (many third and long).
Another player also helped showcase the offensive weapons this team has was Leon Washington. Always pushed to the side under the previous staffs Washington was showcased and used in a variety of plays. He gained a total of 84 yards and was a lightning rod for the Jets.
Finally there's the defense. The Jets revamped defense was mesmerizing as they stopped the Titans anemic offense over and over. Although this was not a true test (which will come this Sunday against the New England Patriots) it was great to see Rex Ryan's plans put into full swing.
Being his first professional game, I was prepared to take a loss and prepared to defend Sanchez on what was sure to be a disappointing Monday. I was ready to give excuses about Rex Ryan and why the Jets can only get butter. Luckily I was very wrong, the Jets shined defeating the Houston Texans 24-7.