Hate Mark Sanchez, but Don't Bench Him

Kevin Roberts@BreakingKevinSenior Writer IOctober 19, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18:  Ouarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks on against the Buffalo Bills at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands on October 18, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bills defeated the Jets 16-13 in overtime.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

I vouched for this kid. And regardless of many other experts opinions, he made me look like a genius while leading the surprise New York Jets to a 3-0 start.

But I never said this was a Cinderella story. I said this was a playoff team , but I never alluded to the dream that he was a playoff-caliber quarterback .

He's a rookie, folks. This is what rookies do.

See: Joe Flacco

See: Matt Ryan.

While they both had impressive overall numbers on the season last year, they both also had their share of weak performances. They both also caved in the playoffs. (Flacco more so, but you get the idea.)

The point is to realize that we didn't give Sanchez enough credit for how prepared he was to start the season, and now when it's turned around, we're giving him too much flak now that he's getting rattled.

Sure, he played without Jerricho Cotchery on Sunday. But that's no excuse. Quarterbacks don't play like this. Not unless they have a good reason.

And when Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are combining their efforts for 300-plus rushing yards to help the offense pull itself out of a four-interception hole, there are no good reasons.

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Blame the kicker, too. Blame the loss of Kris Jenkins. It doesn't matter.

As long as you get back around to the fact that the Jets stopped the run, knocked Trent Edwards out of the game, ran the hell out of the ball, only to see Sanchez blow it with the "icing on the cake," "cherry on top" fifth interception.

But even with all of that information, I still don't see the argument for a benching.

For what? To save the offense? The team? The season?

With who, Kellen Clemens?

Mark Sanchez, love him or hate him right now, is the best player for the position. He's the man for the job. But this all needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

He's a rookie, and just as he led a near-flawless 3-0 charge, he's now dealing with a horrible, pathetic turnover streak.

But New York, Rex Ryan, he's your quarterback. Don't yank him. Don't bench him. Don't kill his mojo. Not when what we saw just three or four weeks ago had some of us thinking Super Bowl. Or, at the very worst, playoffs.

The Jets are still 3-2. They're still a half-game back in their division, and they still have the tie-breaker over New England. And, going forward, they should still have their rookie quarterback leading the way, with an entire city behind him.

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