One game is in the books in the preseason quarterback competition for the New York Jets. Mark Sanchez started the game, and Geno Smith came on in relief. It sounds like, although Geno got banged up a bit, that he is going to be fine moving ahead, so we won’t dwell there. Both guys had their ups and their downs, leaving the competition still anybody’s game.
This morning, we are going to take a closer look at what each one of them did on Friday night. What did they do well? What do they still need to work on? Let’s talk about it.
Did anyone really think I wouldn’t talk about Mark Sanchez first? If you did, you clearly just arrived at this blog for the first time. Just kidding around. Anyway…..
First the good. Mark overall had a good game. 10-13 for 125 yards 1 TD and 1 INT is certainly not all bad. A hallmark of the West Coast offense is a lot of receivers getting involved in the game, and Mark did just that, throwing to seven or eight different guys during his time in the game.
In the past, he would have sulked after a bad throw. Friday night, Mark did anything but that. The third drive that Mark led was absolutely stellar, where Mark went 5-5 including a very well thrown seam route for a 26 yard TD to Jeff Cumberland. Sanchez had a confidence in the offensive scheme that I haven’t seen in a while. The plays were set for his skill set, which is a testament to Marty Mornhinweg’s system.
The bad, is what is always bad with Mark. It’s really what makes Mark, Mark. Unfortunately, standard operating procedure for Mark Sanchez is bad decision-making and inaccuracy, which crept into his play again last Friday night.
You cannot give up an 6 points like that under ANY circumstances, and you would think Mark Sanchez knows that by now. But, there he was again, throwing a pick to a defensive lineman on a screen pass. He just really doesn’t execute those well. This one was especially bad, because there was no chance for a completion.
You see where Mark is throwing here? Not to anybody on the Jets. It’s almost as if he were playing catch with Ziggy Ansah. Yes, as Mark pointed out, the guy had to jump to make the play, but there was no opportunity for anyone else to get this one but Ziggy. Mark should have been able to recognize this, get outside the tackles and throw it away.
But the bad decisions stay.
It’s important to be accurate on every throw in the West Coast system. Every throw has to be in the correct spot, so the receiver can make the catch and run with it. That happens some of the time with Mark, but it just isn’t consistent. If you look at the throw to Kellen Winslow that was almost picked off, you will see this issue first hand.
Winslow was wide open, but the pass sailed high and to the left. If Winslow doesn’t get a hand on it, it is another interception, and likely another touchdown.
Mark Sanchez can throw the football well. He just doesn’t do it consistently enough, and that is what drives the entire fan base crazy.