In Mark Brunell, Mark Sanchez Should Find A Mentor

Joe CipollaContributor IJuly 30, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with Mark Brunell #11 after defeating the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images


It’s been no secret that one of the biggest question marks the Jets were facing for the 2010 season was their lack of a capable back up to Mark Sanchez.

Kellen Clemens has proven, time and time again, that he can’t get the job done. Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell are unproven with little to no game time experience.

With these options, an injury to Sanchez could be detrimental for a team with such high expectations placed on them.

The Jets remedied this issue with the signing of veteran QB Mark Brunell.

Brunell is coming off a championship season where he served as back up to Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees.

Brunell, a three time Pro-Bowler, has the experience and knowledge to not only be a capable back up, but also to be an exceptional mentor to Sanchez.

Last season, Sanchez made plenty of rookie mistakes.

He forced throws for INTs, missed open receivers, didn’t protect the ball, scrambled when he should’ve thrown, thrown when he should’ve scrambled, etc. Granted, these are mistakes that rookies are going to make when propelled into the spotlight.

If he had a veteran mentor for a back up, perhaps some of these mistakes could have been avoided.

This is exactly why Brunell was brought in.

Now, I can ramble off numbers and stats that illustrate Brunell’s competence as a QB, but that’s moot. The guy went to three Pro Bowls and has considerable playoff experience; his numbers are respectable. Is he going to the Hall of Fame? Most likely not. But that isn’t the point.

Opponents of this acquisition are going to indicate one factor… his age. Brunell will be 40 years old at the start of the 2010 season. Obviously, his best years are behind him. But let’s look at this realistically, he’s not being brought in to compete for the starting job.

His job is mainly going to be: a holder on FGs/extra points, and a big brother to Sanchez.

If, God forbid, Sanchez is hurt and sidelined for half the season or more, the Jets are going to be reeling no matter whom their No. 2 QB is.

But, putting the ball in the hands of a seasoned veteran like Brunell gives the Jets a better chance to stay competitive.

Let’s not forget that the Jets have a great running game with LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, and their offensive line and defense are one of the best, if not the best in the league.

The Jets have the weapons to get past an injury to long as the back up QB has the right football instincts and can keep cool under the pressure.

Clemens cannot, Brunell can.

With the addition of Brunell, the Jets are now carrying five QBs. Obviously they have to rid themselves of at least one, my money is on Clemens. His trade value is about equivalent to a pack of smokes, so I expect him to get his outright release.

If they do make a trade, I can’t see Clemens garnering anything but a late round draft pick.

The only way Clemens stays with the Jets is if he’s willing to be a third-string QB.

I don’t think he’ll do that when he could probably go to a team that’s having a QB controversy (Bills, Panthers) and fight it out for a No. 2 spot or maybe even a starting job (doubtful).

Bottom line: Brunell makes the Jets a better team and Sanchez a better QB.