Just throwing around ideas here, but what if Sanchez wins the quarterback battle over Geno Smith? Before people say he stinks, just consider the idea. Many say then it would automatically turn into Geno’s year to be groomed and learn the NFL, and Sanchez would be traded or cut at season’s end. But in that scenario, no one ever poses the question that if Sanchez wins the job, what if he has a great season?
Drew Brees had a pretty good season, and then was left to sign with the New Orleans Saints following his first Pro Bowl season. The reason was that the younger 1st round pick Philip Rivers was waiting in the wings. If I had to guess, I would say the Chargers would wish to have that one back again. Not comparing Sanchez to Brees, but the idea of trading or releasing a guy who is coming off a Pro Bowl year seems absurd.
By throwing around numbers, and making assumptions I can come to any conclusion I want. I’m going to go with this scenario. The Eagles threw the ball 618 times in 2012 (7th), 554 in 2011 (13th), 561 times in 2010 (11th most attempts). This averages out to 577 pass attempts a season and 10th most in the NFL over that period. Mark Sanchez’s biggest year by comparison was 543 attempts in 2011 in which he threw for 3,500 yards and 26 touchdowns. His completion percentage was right around 57%, while Mike Vick’s was right at 59%. I use 2011 as my measuring stick, because I view that as about his norm, and not 2012 which I think was his aberration.
If I use the average of Marty Morhinweg’s Eagles offenses in the run game as a guide, the last 3 seasons show the Jets attempts usually above the Eagles, but the Eagles outgaining the Jets in average, and total yardage. Simply put, the Jets averaged about 70 more rushing attempts per season, the Eagles averaged ½ yard more per attempt, and over the years the yardage comes out even. So even with the inflated pass attempts, the spread formations create more room, and larger yards per carry.
All this being said, if Sanchez plays in 16 games this season I would expect his stats to look somewhere around this: 30.5 passing touchdowns, 14.5 Interceptions, 3,850 yards. The hitch is that if the running game can benefit from a more spread offense, and the yards per carry can get up from 3.8 to a more respectable 4.5 or so, the run game would still be able to amass around 1,800 yards this year which is only 75 yards less than the team amassed last season in the ground in pound era.
If you add all this together, and I will admit it’s a big stretch, the Jets would be a top 10 in offense. While they do not have LeSean McCoy or DeSean Jackson, they did put up good offensive numbers in 2011 with Santonio Holmes and a sub par Plaxico Burress, so it can be done. No playoff or record predictions, but it’s safe to say it would be a successful season if those numbers can be reached, and they are not plucked out of the sky, but more like averages of a Mornhinweg offense.
The biggest question though, is if this season is successful, do the Jets try to trade Sanchez while his value and confidence are high, or let him walk by trade or roster cut? What I’m asking is what does Sanchez have to show to retain his starting job for the duration of his contract?