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Why Mark Sanchez Will Not Follow Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan in 2009

Old AccountSenior Writer IMay 5, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 02:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets throws a pass during minicamp on May 2, 2009 at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

We are over a week removed from the 2009 Draft, an event that had a lot of excitement and surprises. It's also been about a year since the 2008 draft, one that had much more excitement than this past one.

As we look back at the 2008 draft, there are two obvious players that people are already considering the "top dog" from last year. Matt Ryan, who was selected third overall by the Atlanta Falcons, was this year's NFL Rookie of the Year. He posted 3,440 passing yards, including 16 touchdown passes and didn't miss a start.

Ryan led his Falcons to the playoffs, which was unexpected at the beginning of the season. The playoff run didn't last, however, with a loss to the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals.

The fans in downtown Atlanta were still pushing to get Michael Vick back in town when released from prison. Things have changed, however, with now their new savior giving them light.

There was also another quarterback in the draft last year, Joe Flacco. A senior quarterback from the University of Delaware, many organizations were skeptical about his lack of competition at the college level.

Apparently, many people are rethinking that decision. I remember Mel Kiper saying at the draft that Flacco had one of the strongest arms he has ever seen, and as soon as he was drafted, he would already have elite arm strength.

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After trading down from the 8th pick via trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Baltimore Ravens selected Flacco with the 18th overall pick. The Ravens were a team destined to find a quarterback sooner or later.

Joe had a rough start at first, he didn't throw his first touchdown pass until his first Monday night game against the Steelers.

Flacco finished with 2,971 yards and 14 touchdown passes. Yet, high moments of his rookie career were in the postseason. With victories over the Dolphins and Titans, Flacco became the first quarterback to win two playoff games in his rookie season—much less two games on the road.

Many people give most, if not all credit to the ferocious defense of the Ravens. Yet, Flacco did find a way to come up big in clutch situations in his two wins.

Both of these quarterbacks have a lot in common during their rookie season. Both started all 16 regular season games. Both led their teams to the playoffs. Both quarterbacks were with rookie head coaches, and carried two franchises who some thought they were supposed to rebuild.

Can anyone ever repeat this type of season? Will anyone ever accomplish it?

There are many people, atleast at ESPN, believe Mark Sanchez just a year later will be the next "savior."

Whether or not he is being considered a savior by those New York folk, I do not believe he will achieve all the aspects Flacco and Ryan did.

First off, his schedule doesn't favor him. Having one of the tougher schedules in the league. He must play the AFC East favorite New England Patriots, with a healthy Tom Brady; the Miami Dolphins, who are coming off an 11-5 season and now have cornerback play; as well as the Bills who are a .500 team, now with Terrell Owens in town. They also must play the tough AFC South, as well as the young and talented NFC South.

Joe Flacco had an interesting schedule in his rookie season. However, the only threat within his division was the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The depth of the AFC East is not in the Jets favor, especially after failing to make the playoffs last season.

Also, Sanchez is unlikely to start, as offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer even admitted fourth year man Kellen Clemens is "way ahead" of Sanchez as far as the system goes.

The most important argument to be made here is the Jets overall do not have enough offensive talent. Dustin Keller is a rising tight end in the league, and will probably have a similar season as he did last year.

However, their are questions at the wide receiver spot. Jerricho Cotchery is not a true No. 1 wide receiver. And with the loss of Laveranues Coles, and failure to get Anquan Boldin over the offseason, Sanchez, if he starts, doesn't have the most ideal targets.

Both Flacco and Ryan did have solid targets on the offense. Derrick Mason has been a number one target during his tenure in the NFL.

Matt Ryan had an overall solid depth of wide outs, with Roddy White leading the way.

Just like the Ravens, Rex Ryan will rely heavily on the running game. Yet, I still see some questions. Will Thomas Jones contract situation get resolved with the Jets? Even if so, can he follow up with the season he had last year?

Also, can Leon Washington and new rookie Shonn Greene be as productive as Willis McGahee and Ray Rice were behind Le'Ron McClain?

The Falcons running game was led by Michael Turner, who broke out last season for nearly 1,700 yards as a true No. 1 back in the NFL.

The Ravens led the league in rushing attempts, always leaving the play-action open for Flacco, which he did best.

The one thing going well for Sanchez is the defense behind him. The defense will have to keep them in games, and with Rex Ryan's system, they should have some success. They are facing high-powered offenses this season. If they can hold the likes of the Colts and Patriots, hopefully Sanchez can finish the job.

In the end though, it will just be too much to handle for Sanchez. What we witnessed in 2008 seems to look like a one time occurrence, with both rookie quarterbacks achieving different things.

It is too early to judge Sanchez's entire career. My prediction for Sanchez this season (if he wins the job) is about 2,700 yards passing and 16 TD passes.

Would I be shellshocked if this happened? Not as much as I was last year with Flacco and Ryan.

He does have the young defense to build around, but in the end I do not see the possibility of Sanchez following in the footsteps of Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco.


Matt Miselis is a writer for BleacherReport.com

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