Prize of the Franchise: Jets' Mark Sanchez Named NFL Rookie of the Month

Angel NavedoSenior Writer IOctober 1, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 20:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets drops back to pass against the New England Patriots at Giants Stadium on September 20, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

It was a September of firsts for Mark Sanchez.

The fifth-overall selection in April's draft was the first rookie quarterback to start for the New York Jets since Matt Robinson in 1977. He stamped an exclamation mark on that, notching his first win on the road in Houston.

Then he helped the Jets hand Patriots quarterback Tom Brady his first regular season loss since December of 2006. 

To close out the month, Sanchez became the first rookie quarterback to start his career at 3-0 with a win against the Tennessee Titans.

And with the first of October came recognition as the NFL's first Rookie of the Month, making Sanchez the first offensive player to win the award in Jets' history.

With 606 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions to his credit, Sanchez has looked like anything but a rookie at times. His resiliency, pocket presence, and fluid footwork are indications of a quarterback with natural ability akin to that of a wily veteran.

Despite his fumbles and mental lapses, Sanchez has done an inspiring Michael Phelps impression in a "sink or swim" situation with the Jets.

It's difficult to not be enamored with the young man and his abilities. He's personable, respectful, and his 14-yard touchdown scamper against the Titans in Week Three proved to his teammates that he's more than the 22-year-old face of a franchise.

"That play epitomizes what we want to be all about with this football team," said right tackle Damien Woody. "We want to be tough, smart, and have that desire to do whatever it takes. That's what it was."

Now Sanchez and Gang Green hope to be the first blemish on the Saints record when they travel to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the high-octane offense he commands in Louisiana's Superdome. 


And the irony of it all...

Mark Sanchez to New York was made possible by ex-Jets coach Eric Mangini to start off his first draft with Cleveland.

With no plans for the Browns' fifth-overall pick, Mangini gift-wrapped the spot to the Jets for a package of two picks and three marginal players, including a previously undrafted quarterback.

Hindsight is 20/20, so it'd be cruel to kick Mangini and the Dawg Pound's faithful while they're down. But with three straight weeks of offensive woes surrounding the team's ineffective quarterbacks, one can't help but wonder if the NFL's Rookie of the Month could've helped out a little.

Then again, the Brett Ratliff era could take the NFL by storm if Derek Anderson isn't up to the task. Right? Anyone?