Off The Mark, Sanchez: Ball Security Threat Level Red Against The Saints

Jon SContributor IOctober 4, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 04:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets dives for a first down around Roman Harper #41 of the New Orleans Saints at the Louisana Superdome on October 4, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

After three weeks of continuous winning, the high flying Jets finally came back down to earth. Mark Sanchez was the talk of the town for the past month. It was said that he was finally the next great QB after Joe Namath. It was all smooth sailing until the roof was closed on the rookie ears of Sanchez. When you win, it tends to cover up your weaknesses and the Jets are no different. Their weakness today against the Saints was their rookie quarterback. His weakness was ball security.

For the first couple of games he had trouble holding onto the pigskin. He would move around the pocket with the ball at his waist. Every QB has been told to hold the ball up near your ear for two reasons. First it allows for a quick release, and second it protects the ball from the traffic around you. Last week he had a fumble caused by holding the ball at his waist and it was swiped away by a pass rusher. He also had the ball slip out of his hand on a throwing attempt. These issues were overlooked because he was winning and coined the next big thing to hit new york.

In today's game he had trouble not only with holding onto the ball but also throwing the ball to the other team. His first pick was returned 99 yards by Darren Sharper after Sanchez eyed Dustin Keller the whole way. He later threw two more interceptions, one of which was on the Jets final drive to cap it off.

Even when he didn't turn the ball over he still made mistakes. There was one play where Sanchez scrambled to the left and got the first down, but while he was running he had the ball in a throwing grip. Not once did he tuck it in to his side and hold on tight. At least he switched the ball to his left hand when he was getting tackled, but it was still in a throwing grip. Im not saying he should run with both arms covering the ball but a little more effort wouldn't hurt. And then there was his worst play of the day.

As a Connecticut Husky myself, I hate having to use and define the term " Pulling an Orlovsky" but it must be done here. For all of you out there that don't know what this means I will explain. Last year when Danny Orlovsky was playing for the consistenly bad Detroit Lions they were backed up deep in enemy territory around the end zone. Orlovsky took the snap, dropped back, and then started rolling right taking 3 steps out the back of the end zone before he realized what he had just done, gave up a safety.

The definition of "Pulling an Orlovksy": An idiotic move by the QB that occurs in their own end zone because of their lack of awareness, and results in points for the other team in the form of a safety or in Sanchez's case, a touchdown. Your awareness must be at an all-time high when your offense is in such poor field position. The alarm has to go off in your head flashing code level red when you are scrambling in the end zone and just get rid of the ball. It was obvious that Ferguson missed his block, but the clock should have gone off. The normal clock should be 3.5 seconds in optimal conditions. When you are pinned back to the end zone it should be 2.5 seconds.

I understand that this is not the end of the world. I get the fact that this was a road game in a very loud Super Dome. It was supposed to be a difficult game against one of the most potent offenses in the game. It wasn't just the fact that the mistakes were made, but it was how they were made. Forcing the ball into coverage after starring down the receiver, not holding onto the ball properly, and showing just a complete lack of awareness is unacceptable. I will give it to the Jets defense because they sure did their part against the great offense of the Saints.

Rex Ryan is going to sit down with Sanchez and tell him to learn from the mistakes he made(which were many) and move on because next week they will be under the lights for a Monday Night Football matchup against the division rival Miami Dolphins.