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Tebow! Tebow! Teb…Wait, Aren’t We Forgetting Someone?

By Alan Schechter
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Mar 26; Florham Park, NJ, USA; Newly acquired New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow addresses the media at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Tim Tebow. Tebowmania. It’s all anyone wants to talk about around here these days. Tebow this and Tebow that. “Tebow’s going to be the starter.” “Tebow is here to take over.” Guys like Amani Toomer are talking about how Tebow will eventually be the starter. Tebow the “publicity stunt” is now here.

Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. Aren’t we forgetting about someone?

Some guy who has won 4 road playoff games, the most of any Jets quarterback?

Some guy that was under center taking his team to 2 straight AFC Championship games?

What’s his name again? Oh yeah…………

Jan.1, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) warms up before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Mark Sanchez! That’s the guy!

How quickly we all forget about this guy. Everyone wants to put him out to pasture, and get rid of him.

I’d like to talk about all of the good things he as done.

First back to his college career. Starting only one full season with USC, he led his team to a 12-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. He threw in that season (2008), for 3207 yards passing, to go along with 34 TDs(second in USC history), along with only 10 INTs. In the Rose Bowl, he was named Most Valuable Player, and his 413 passing yards, were second most in the history of the Rose Bowl, and 4th highest in USC history.

Then, the Jets traded up to get him in the 2009 draft as we all know. They moved up quite a bit to get this guy, so we know the expectations that came along with that.

2009, the Jets finished with a 9-7 record, some say they backed into the playoffs. Whatever you think about how the Jets got in the playoffs, they got there, and they got hot. In the wild card game against the Bengals, Sanchez led the Jets to victory with a performance of 12-15 passing for 182 yards and 1 TD, a 139.4 passer rating. On the road.

This is the guy everyone wants to run out of town.

They went on to beat the Chargers the following week to move to the AFC championship game, although he had a mediocre day throwing, with a 12-23 performance for 100 yards 1 TD and 1 INT. Bottom line, they won.

Again, on the road.

The Jets lost to Peyton Manning and the Colts the following week to end their Super Bowl hopes. Some say that they went this far despite of Sanchez, that the running game and the defense. Nevertheless, they got there, and Sanchez was the quarterback.

2010 came, and the Jets had a much improved record at 11-5. Sanchez threw for 3291 yards passing, along with 17 TDs and 13 INTs. Back to the playoffs they went.

The wildcard game was against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Sanchez had a mediocre game, throwing 18-31, but he led the game winning drive at the end of the ball game that led to the Nick Folk game winning field goal.

Playoff win 3, on the road.

The following week, the Jets upset the heavily favored Patriots, with Sanchez having a great game, putting up a passing ratio of 16-25 for 194 yards and 3 TDs.

Playoff win 4, on the road.

A bad half of football put the Jets too far behind the Steelers in the championship game, despite a furious comeback led by Sanchez in the second half, and the Jets lost 24-19. This put a lot of expectations on the Jets and Sanchez in 2011.

Now, there has been a lot of talk about the regression of Sanchez in 2011, and this did occur. He made a lot of bad decisions, a lot of interceptions at bad times, and cost his team dearly many times this season. However, let’s really analyze what happened last season.

First of all, he was under duress almost every time he dropped back. Remember when Nick Mangold was hurt early in the season, and Colin Baxter took his place? A guy who didn’t know a protection if it ran up to him and bit him?

What about Wayne Hunter? I don’t know about you, but if I was under center, and looked to my right to see Wayne Hunter watching defensive ends and linebackers run past him to kill me, I would make bad decisions as well. He was running for his life all season, bad decisions are bound to occur.

Now, let’s take a look statistically, and see how Mark Sanchez really did in 2011. Take a look at these 2 stat lines, and tell me which you prefer:

3,336 yards passing, 23 TDs, 20 INTs

3,474 yards passing, 26 TDs, 18 INTs.

Who out there thinks that the lower line is better? I do. Guess what? The bottom line is Mark Sanchez. The top line? Eli Manning in his third full year as a starter (2007). Mark Sanchez had better stats than Eli Manning in his third year, but did the Giants bring in a backup to “pressure” him? No. They gave him weapons.

Mark Sanchez accounted for 32 TDs in 2011 (6 rushing), which is a big number. For comparison sake, how many TDs did Tony Romo account for? 32. How about Alex Smith, a guy that led his team to the brink of the Super Bowl? 17. 17 TDs are all he accounted for in 2011. Eli Manning, the Super Bowl Champ? He scored 30 TDs in 2011. Mark Sanchez actually outscored the Super Bowl championship QB.

Clearly, Mark Sanchez can get the job done, there isn’t any doubt.

So what’s the problem?

The offensive line, first and foremost. We outlined the problems earlier in this post. They need depth, and they need to become more solid, and get back to being the force that they were in 2010 and 2011. Better decisions are made when the quarterback is not on his back.

Secondly, what hasn’t been consistent for Mark Sanchez’s years as the QB of the Jets? His wide receiving corps, that’s what. It has been a revolving door, from Brad Smith, to Jerricho Cotchery , to Santonio Holmes, to Plaxico Burress, the list goes on and on. How can the QB get chemistry if his weapons keep changing? Do the consistent Super Bowl contenders change their WRs every season. Absolutely not, because it’s ridiculous.

It’s time to get off of Mark Sanchez’s back, and let him play. Get him weapons, protect him, and leave him alone. He can play, if we let him play.

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