New York Jets Continue to Soar With Mark Sanchez Taking Flight As Their Leader

Joe CipollaContributor ISeptember 29, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks on during warmups prior to the game against the New England Patriots on September 19, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium  in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets have established themselves as the top team in the AFC East. 

The Jets are currently in a three-way tie for first place with the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins, but wins over both teams give the Jets the clear upper hand in the division.

After the dismal Week 1 performance against the Baltimore Ravens, the Jets are now firing on all cylinders. While many players have stepped up, enough cannot be said about Mark Sanchez’s stellar play and emergence as not only the leader of the offense, but also the leader of this team.

Last season, as a rookie, Sanchez was thrust into the starting role having to fill the shoes of future Hall of Famer Brett Favre

He was a 23-year-old kid with only 16 starts at USC, and now he was the captain of the ship in the biggest sports market in the country. With established veterans on the team (Tony Richardson, Alan Faneca, and Kris Jenkins to name a few), it was unlikely that Sanchez would take the reins.

His inconsistency did not help his case either. 

While he had a good start to the 2009 season, he soon suffered some fumblitis and interception syndrome. But his strong postseason performance showed signs that he could be a team leader.

Now, his time has arrived. 

With a full season under his belt and some postseason experience, he’s confident in a leadership role, and it shows. The absence of other team leaders (Jenkins, Darrelle Revis, and Calvin Pace) makes it that much more crucial for Sanchez to assume the position.

Sanchez is commanding the huddle and is a big presence on the sideline and the locker room. 

It is reflected in his play as well.  

He’s showing great poise running the offense. He’s more confident in the pocket, making good decisions and accurate throws. 

And the biggest accomplishment thus far: NO INTERCEPTIONS!

Sanchez has already amassed half his TD pass total (12) from last season. If he continues at this pace, he could potentially toss over 30 TDs this season.

Now I know what everyone reading this is thinking right about now: It’s way too early in the season to start proclaiming Sanchez is the next Peyton Manning.

My response: That is correct!

There is still a lot of football left to play, and there is no guarantee that Sanchez is now officially “The Sanchize.” But if the last two games are any indication of how Sanchez will perform for the rest of the season, then there is a lot to look forward to in Jets Nation.

Right now the Jets are flying high, and Sanchez is the captain in the cockpit telling his passengers to buckle up, turn off their electronic devices, and sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Whether it’s a smooth ride that lands in Arlington, TX for Super Bowl XLV or a turbulent ride doomed to crash back to earth in typical Jets fashion remains to be seen.