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Will Sanchez Fold in The Face of Adversity?

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 04:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets scrambles against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisana Superdome on October 4, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Lee TawilContributor IOctober 6, 2009

It finally happened. After 3 impressive weeks of quality football, Mark Sanchez came back to Earth against the Saints on Sunday. It’s not like Sanchez was putting up phenomenal numbers in the first 3 games, but he had protected the ball and played well enough to pull out victories.

If you are going to evaluate Sanchez over his first 4 games, you would be more than elated with the kind of success that he has had so early in his career. This from a guy who left college earlier than most people wanted him to.

Analysts said it was crazy for Sanchez to come out as early as he did, and they added that he wasn’t even that impressive as a college quarterback. But NFL scouts obviously saw something in this young man out of USC to believe that he had a special attribute that was worthy of a high draft pick.

To me, if he has the attribute that I think is most important in an NFL quarterback, he will have a very good game against the Dolphins on Monday night. The attribute I am referring to is mental toughness; specifically, the ability to have a short memory, and the ability to learn from mistakes.

A lot of average quarterbacks show early success in their careers, and when the first sign of trouble causes them to play badly, the rest of their careers seem to take a downward turn. They cannot overcome the overwhelming adversity of facing problems, and instead of growing from the experience, they seem to regress. They start to make uncharacteristic throws, and a new slew of negative thoughts start to creep into their heads.

Will Sanchez start to show weakness from here on out, or will he learn from his 3 interception performance and continue an already impressive season?

In my opinion, Sanchez will have a bounce back performance and pull out a victory in Land Shark Stadium on Monday night. Not only that, but I feel he will shine in the spotlight, and prove to all the naysayers that he does indeed possess the mentally tough qualities that a top quarterback needs to be successful over the long haul in this league.

Why?

Because Sanchez has surprised plenty of people up to this point, and he is clearly a guy who is not afraid of a challenge. Whether it was playing up to a high enough standard in his first game, or beating the Patriots at home, Sanchez has shown that he is willing to go beyond the expectations of others.

Now following his first loss of his pro career, Sanchez should once again surprise people by facing the adversity head-on, and passing another test with flying colors.

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