Mark Sanchez: Why New York Jets Need a New QB in 2012
There are two Mark Sanchezes—regular-season Mark Sanchez and postseason Mark Sanchez.
Regular-season Mark Sanchez makes you cringe, curse and sometimes makes you cry.
Postseason Mark Sanchez goes into Indianapolis and Foxborough in back-to-back playoff games and comes out with two victories to propel you into a second consecutive AFC Championship game.
With first place in the AFC East on the line, regular-season Sanchez connects for just 51 percent of his passes while throwing two interceptions, one returned for a TD.
Then he goes into Denver, in a must-win game, and throws another interception that is returned for a TD on his way to an abysmal 67.9 QB rating.
If regular-season Sanchez continues to play this poorly, he's going to kill postseason Sanchez.
And that is why, along with the following other reasons, the Jets need a new QB in 2012.
No Trust Between Head Coach and QB
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Today, Rex Ryan tried to play the same trick he did last season in order to motivate his QB. He gave Mark Brunnell a few snaps with the first-team offense, hinting that there may be a chance for him to play.
This tactic supposedly worked last season. It got Sanchez so mad that he wanted to fight Rex. All turned out well, though, with Sanchez raising his play for the following three straight weeks.
How is this supposed to work again? Now, there's word that Rex and Sanchez are not talking.
Rex had showed this season that he has little trust in Sanchez. In the offseason, he transformed the ground-and-pound game into a more pass-friendly system that would give his third-year QB more responsibility and a more open game where he can pass downfield with regularity.
With the new offense installed in the opening game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sanchez threw 44 times for 335 yards, two TDs and one interception on the way to a Jets victory.
After an ugly win against the Jacksonville Jaguars that was dominated by the Jets defense, New York traveled to Oakland and let the ball fly again. Sanchez threw 44 times again for 369 yards, two TDs and one INT in a loss.
The loss was somewhat blamed on Sanchez.
But was the Raiders loss his fault or was it because the Jets defense allowed 234 rushing yards and four rushing TDs?
After the loss to the Patriots, Rex pulled the plug on the new pass-friendly offense, and started the transition back to ground-and-pound while neutering Sanchez in the process.
That was quick. Kind of a short leash.
There May Be a Better QB out There
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There would be a lot of hypotheticals here.
What if Rex Ryan has indeed lost trust in Sanchez and has a discussion with owner Woody Johnson and they ultimately decide to break ties?
The Jets are in win-now mode, the defense is not getting any younger and one of their main targets is a 34-year-old wide receiver.
Woody has made a similar, bold move to acquire a veteran QB just four seasons ago when he took the chance on Brett Favre. It cost the team a draft pick and a lot of money to basically rent him for just one year.
I don't know how a deal would get done or even if the Colts are actually going to move him or even if Peyton Manning is going to be healthy enough to play at his level.
But if Manning is available, the Jets would have to seriously consider the option, and if the Jets want Manning, he would have to look hard also.
Deep QB Draft
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This year's draft has the potential of having five franchise QBs with Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill and Landry Jones.
If you can get one of them and it makes sense, the Jets should take the chance.
All five of these prospects look to have more potential than Sanchez.
My pick would be Robert Griffin since the offensive line is getting weaker.
As a dual-threat, Griffin can cover up the mistakes of the line with his mobility, and he can also help out the poor Jets' running game.
If New York can't get one of the top five, they can look for a QB in the later rounds. University of Arizona QB Nick Foles or Boise State's Kellen Moore may turn out to be late-round steals.
As of now, the Jets have Mark Brunnell and Greg McElroy, who they drafted in the seventh round last year. Both are not starting NFL QB quality.
Sanchez Has Reached His Ceiling
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What if Sanchez has already reached his ceiling?
What if he is what he is? An average QB with just an adequate arm, decent scrambling ability who is mistake-prone.
What if he was just lucky in the postseason?
What if any average QB could have accomplished what Sanchez has?
He did have the luxuries of a strong running game, which was the league's best in his rookie season and fourth in his sophomore season, and a dominant defense, which was the league's best in his rookie season and third in his sophomore season.
Maybe he is limited physically and his decision-making is at its peak already.
If this is the case, the Jets need to move on.
An Improved Sanchez
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Maybe the new QB New York needs is named Mark Sanchez. He just has to make improvements.
Sanchez just may need a little time, some trust from his head coach and possibly a new offensive coordinator.
While it may not show, Sanchez has improved.
In his first season, he played in 15 games. He had a completion percentage of 53.8, passed for 2,444 yards, 12 TDs and 20 INTs with a QB rating of 63.
In his second season, Sanchez played in 16 games. He had a completion percentage of 54.8, passed for 3,291 yards, 17 TDs and 13 INTs with a QB rating of 75.3.
Up to this point of the season, Sanchez has improved his completion percentage to 57.1 and raised his QB rating to 79.
Sanchez's first three seasons' stats are very comparable to fellow New Yorker, Eli Manning.
Manning has since won a Super Bowl and is currently fifth in the league in QB rating in his eighth season.