New York Jets: Too Soon to Write off Mark Sanchez

Connor KieselContributor INovember 14, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks to pass against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Five seasons.

That's how long it took, Eli Manning, now beloved by the NY/national media, to become a decent NFL QB. 

Remember when Manning was "garbage"? Fans and media wanted to run him out of town.

Look at Manning's stats for his career:

Year 1 (7 GS): 48.2% comp, 1043 yards, 6 TD, 9 INT

Year 2: 52.8%, 3762 yds, 24 TD, 17 INT

Year 3: 57.7%, 3244 yds, 24 TD, 18 INT

Year 4: 56.1%, 3336 yds, 23 TD, 20 INT

Year 5: 60.3%, 3238 yds, 21 TD, 10 INT

Year 6: 62.3%, 4021 yds, 27 TD, 14 INT

Year 7: 62.9%, 4002 yds, 31 TD, 25 INT

Year 8 (so far): 63.1%, 2688 yds, 17 TD, 8 INT


Sanchez's career stats:

Year 1: 53.8%, 2444 yds, 12 TD, 20 INT

Year 2: 54.8%, 3291 yds, 17 TD, 13 INT

Year 3 (so far): 56.7%, 2081 yds, 14 TD, 9 INT

It took Eli Manning, whom many are now putting in the MVP discussion, until his fifth season to have a completion percentage of 60 percent.

Manning threw 1,363 passes in his college career at Ole Miss. Sanchez threw 487 in his at USC.

If there were ever a guy who would have been well served by sitting a season or two behind a veteran backup, it would have been Sanchez. Instead, he was thrown into the fire right away. He has attempted 1,169 passes as a NFL QB, which is fewer than Manning attempted in his college career.

Yet many are done with Sanchez, ready to blame all the Jets' troubles on him. What most are expecting out of him in year three is unrealistic. He's raw. Pete Carroll said as much when he left USC and entered the draft. He has started one year in college and two in the NFL.

Sanchez has attempted 1,654 passes in his college/pro career. Rookie Andy Dalton, who is being lauded for an impressive start, has attempted just 50 less, 1,604 passes, between his four years at TCU and this season with the Bengals.

You can judge Sanchez as you would typically judge a third-year QB, but you'd be improperly evaluating him. His actual on-field passing experience is near the equivalent of a rookie with lots of college experience, like Dalton.

As a junior starter with USC, Sanchez completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 3,207 yards, 34 TDs and 10 interceptions. His ceiling can still be high no matter what anyone else says about him right now.

Writing off Sanchez now, midway through year three, is a mistake. See Eli Manning and Alex Smith on that one.