Mark Sanchez or Chad Henne: Which Second-Year QB Will Be Best in 2010?

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 8:  Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphons reacts against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 8, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

When it comes to division toughness, the NFL packs quite a heavy punch. 

If it isn't the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, and Chicago Bears' constant three way duel in the NFC North that delights fans, it's the fatal four-way battle between the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Giants in the NFC East.

Sure, these are all tough and well-storied division rivalries, but what about the up-and-coming AFC East?

When you think about it, it is quite an underrated division with the New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Miami Dolphins all battling it out every season.

And unfortunately for AFC East fans, the division does take a backseat to the bigger and more prolific rivalries that the NFL has to offer.

However, aside from the divisional toughness that is often experienced in the AFC East, perhaps a more important and meaningful storyline has developed within that past year or two.

In case you've been living under a rock recently, both Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne have proven to be darn good quarterbacks. 

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Of course, they do have their kinks that need ironing out, but for the most part, they have delivered exceptionally well for their teams, and have a very promising future in front of them.

So now that the rookie jitters are out of the way, we as NFL fans must focus on both men's second-year starting role. 

There is no question that both quarterbacks are solid, show potential, and have a fairly decent arm, but just who is set for the bigger second season?

It's a question that hasn't been asked until now, and although the rivalry in itself makes for a massive story, hopefully these arguments can paint a picture for us heading toward September.

Chad Henne

2009 Stats: 12 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 2,878 yards.

In my recent writing career, I've experienced quite a bit of skepticism towards Chad Henne.  It seems fans either love him or hate him, and actually question his overall ability and leadership.

Earlier today, I made a statement on a forum quoting that the Miami Dolphins do have a very potent passing game, which can benefit newly signed wide receiver Brandon Marshall immensely in 2010.

At the time I felt this was a logical statement, but, like everything, many people disagreed and decided to question my thinking, and turn a blind eye to Miami's new passing ways.

For Miami fans, this sums up their offseason in a nutshell.  The team is confident, the Dolphin fan base is confident, but for some odd reason everyone else has chosen to disregard the Dolphins, and write them off as mere one-hit wonders.

Now, as for Chad Henne, a case could be made that he may have the second-year blues. 

In 2009, he racked up a total of 2,878 yards, and although he did have more interceptions than touchdowns, much of this could be blamed on Miami's lack of wide receivers at the time.

So what should we expect from Chad Henne in 2010?

Well it's easy really, a very impressive season.  To me Chad Henne is like Aaron Rodgers, only a little younger.  He has been doubted time and time again, but will strive off of being underestimated.

Not only do the Dolphins have a new and improved roster, they also have a strong and solid quarterback, something that has been lacking in Tunatown for many years. 

The negative side for Chad Henne is his accuracy, and lack of quick zipping passes to his receivers, something that Mark Sanchez has a lot of. 

It is likely that Chad has been working on this, but it would be nice to see him deliver a little more consistently in 2010.

Forget the Chad Pennington days; they are well and truly over.  Now we enter the Chad Henne era, and it is one that promises an exciting and telling story in the future.

Mark Sanchez

2009 Stats: 12 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 2,444 yards.

As exciting as Mark Sanchez was in 2009, I can't help but express the slightest bit of concern for Mark this season.

For the most part, everyone has been wrapped in his overall performance.  Sanchez made a successful transition from USC to New York, and despite his lack of leadership at times, fans are appreciative that New York now has a new and stable quarterback.

However, as great as this all is, there is no denying that leadership is a concern.

Why?  I hear you ask, well it's simple.  The Jets are a team that are poised for the Super Bowl, but do you think they are going to get there with a half-decent quarterback who struggles to carry the team?

No, not at all.

Therefore, Mark Sanchez has to step up to the plate, and deliver on the very first pitch.  Now I know it may seem like I am criticizing Chad a little here, but to me he is like Joe Flacco in Baltimore.  Highly talented, but lacking in a motivational quality that could push his team over the edge.

Perhaps this will come in due time, however for now Mark just needs to keep working.  The one thing that Mark does have going for him, is playoff experience.  He's played in big games, and unlike Chad Henne, knows what it takes to remain calm and deliver when necessary.

The other point to be made in defense of Mark Sanchez, is his overall athletic ability.  In his years with USC, he was definitely a step above other quarterbacks experience-wise, and the fact that he can stay quick on his feet and deliver a bullet pass only further gives him a solid future.

Things looked bleak in New York for many years, but now their savior has arrived.  He was an unlikely candidate, however he has the potential to go places.  For New York fans, they hope this place is the Super Bowl, as that is the Jets' ultimate dream. 

For now though, just sit tight: the Mark Sanchez roller coaster has only just taken off.

So Who Is Set For a Bigger Second Year?

Funnily enough, both of these quarterbacks have replaced Chad Pennington.  However, as ironic as this is, a slight edge goes to Chad Henne.

Mark Sanchez may have the stronger team, the better coaching, and the more loyal fanbase, but skill-wise, Chad Henne looks like he may go the longer distance.

I do expect to receive some negative feedback from this call, as many fans have their own opinion on this matter. Aside from others' opinions, though, both of these guys seem to have a very solid future.

On one hand we have a passer that is consistent, with a well-balanced organization and has tasted limitless success recently.

While on the other, we have a young guy that is only new, and hungry for some wins, only further making him more dangerous.

Both of these guys are like tigers just waiting to be unleashed on a deer, or some far weaker opponent.  They both had more interceptions that touchdowns in 2009, and both are no doubt athletically gifted.

Which one will come out on top?  It's an arguable call, but my prediction is Chad Henne, what's yours?

Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for the Bleacher Report . He is also an NFL writer for Real Sports Net , and Green Bay Packer writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters .  Don't forget to follow him on Twitter .