Then, from out of the heavens, came Jim Harbaugh. He came with his system, and brought out the beast in Alex Smith, as he led the 49ers to the NFC title game in 2011. That year, Smith threw for 17 TDs vs only 5 INTs, showing the potential that he had been waiting to show. Despite being benched this year, Alex was throwing for a 70% completion rate, with 13 TDs vs only 5 INTs. If this isn’t clear evidence that Smith “got it”, I don’t know what is.
Smith was rehabilitated, in a city that wanted to run him out of town.
Why can’t Mark? He certainly has had far more success here early in his career than Alex Smith had. Despite what Mark’s detractors say, his four road playoff wins do still exist. The wins against Peyton Manning in the playoffs, and Tom Brady in the playoffs, have not been wiped from the history books. The fact that the Jets were ahead in the AFC Championship game at halftime happened. Mark Sanchez was a big part of all of that. How can a guy that no early success (Alex Smith) be rehabilitated, but someone who had a lot of success (Mark Sanchez) can’t?
Don’t get me wrong, it will take a lot of work. Marty Mornhinweg and David Lee will have a major issue on their hands, as much created by the Jets treatment of this quaterback as it is by how he played. Whatever the reason, what they have on their hands is a broken quarterback. His psyche, despite what he says, is in the toilet. However, Marty Mornhinweg runs a very quarterback friendly system, and David Lee is a quality QB coach. If anyone can do it, it’s these two.
If Mark Sanchez is back in 2013, which he likely will be, he should compete for the job. Will he win it? It’s hard to say, but playing him does not guarantee failure. Even Mark Sanchez can be rehabilitated.