Settling The Mark Sanchez/Chad Henne Debate

Mike GurnisContributor IJune 12, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets  under center against the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As if the Jets-Dolphins rivalry doesn't need any more debates, there has been a new debate that has arisen this off-season. 

Jets and Dolphins fans have argued over who has the better team, Dolphins fans will argue that beating the Jets twice last season was as good as winning the Super Bowl (or even making the playoffs, for that matter), and Jets fans will argue that actually winning playoff games is more important. 

The two franchises argue over who the better coach is, and which was a better game, the Monday Night Miracle, or the Mud Bowl?

And now, the latest arguement: Which quarterback is better, Chad Henne, or Mark Sanchez?

It's very hard for me to say who's better at this point. Last season was their first seasons as starting quarterbacks. If you look at raw numbers, Chad Henne had the better season. 

They both had 12 touchdown passes, but in almost every other category, Henne had Sanchez beat. Sanchez threw six more interceptions, had the lesser completion percentage, threw for 400 less yards, and had a much lower quarterback rating. 

On the surface, it would be easy to assume that Chad Henne is the better quarterback.  But before anyone crowns Henne as the better quarterback, there is one detail that seems to be overlooked in this debate: Sanchez was thrust into the starting job for the Jets in his rookie season. 

While it was  Henne's first season as a starter, he also had a whole season before this to carry a clipboard while backing up Chad Pennington. Therefore, Henne was supposed to have a better season last year.

Also when making the case for Mark Sanchez, you certainly can't ignore the way he played in the postseason last year. Forget about how Sanchez in the Jets got into the postseason, and think about what they did when they got there. Sanchez won two playoff games last year, and arguably played his best game in the Jets AFC Championship game loss to the Colts, where he completed 17 out of 30 passes for 257 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a 93.3 rating. 

Sure, Sanchez wasn't asked to do very much in either of the Jets playoff victories (he attempted only 15 passes against Cincinnatti and 23 against San Diego). But he didn't make many mistakes (only threw one interception in those two games), and had a 139.4 quarterback rating against Cincinnatti. 

As of right now, I don't think it's easy to make a judgment as to who the better quarterback is.  A few seasons from now, it might be fair to make a judgement. 

Even as a Jets fan, I will admit that I liked what I saw out of Henne when I saw him play last season. You'll probably see a spike in Henne's numbers this season with the addition of Brandon Marshall, and expect a lot of improvement out of Sanchez with the addition of Santonio Holmes to a receiving corp that already has Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery. 

But before Dolphin fans annoint Henne as the better Quarterback, you simply can't ignore the fact that he had a whole season to learn the system he was playing in, while Sanchez jumped right in for his rookie season.


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