How can Tony Sparano develop Mark Sanchez in 2012?
By Bob Montgomery
Develop, that is what Tony Sparano is going to have to do with Mark Sanchez in order for the Jets to get to the next level. Throughout his first three seasons Sanchez has proved he belongs. He is a proven winner and has shown the ability to make all the throws necessary to be successful in the NFL. The challenge now is to pair his game winning ability and physical talent with a system designed to help elevate his game to the next level.
His first two years in the league Sanchez operated in a run heavy offensive system. Brian Schottenheimer relied on a solid run game to help open up passing lanes which allowed easy completions and offered protection from the opposing pass rush. While this philosophy led the Jets to two AFC Championship games, Schottenheimer’s offense always featured extensive shifts, motions and checks, which can easily confuse a young quarterback. It always seemed that the offense would successfully ground and pound out of a two back set, hit some play action passes and once inside the red zone, out came the single back motion plays which failed to confuse defenses or offer consistent scoring opportunities.
In 2011 any glimmer of this previous identity seemed lost. No longer was the offense pounding defenses with the power running game, nor were they properly executing down field passes to stretch the field. It seemed as if defenses were dictating the tempo to the offense, which is never a sign of great success. With a poor performing offensive line, no run game to wear down the front seven and a lack of a vertical passing game, defenses could play more base fronts, dropping seven into coverage and relying on four rushers to apply pressure and force Sanchez into making a poor decision into crowded coverage.
So how are the Jets going to recover and help Mark Sanchez and the offense develop into a top tier performer? The answer lies in Tony Sparano and his ability to implement an offensive system that is not reactionary, but both assertive and aggressive. The offense must set the tone; they have to have a system that teams must be forced to prepare for. While Sparano may not be known as the most electrifying offensive mind in the game, he will not allow the offense to remain anonymous. This approach will rely less on specific game plans, and more on implementing a system and creating an identity that will give the offense the hard-nosed edge they need to establish.
How will this help develop Mark Sanchez in 2012? With a new system in place and a renewed focus on the run game Mark Sanchez should be able to play more relaxed when on the field in 2012. Without the frantic motions, checks to the sideline and various other distractions Sanchez should be able to focus more on completing passes from the plays that are called in the huddle and less on pre-snap orchestration. This will result in a more relaxed, more confident Mark Sanchez which in turn should help minimize turnovers and help to sustain drives. If the offensive line can help establish a strong run game which pulls the safeties into the box there could be plenty of down field opportunities to stretch the defense hitting receivers on deep routes.
The new system should allow Sanchez to be better able to decipher defenses, leading to more completions on quick passes when the defense leaves an opening. Beating the blitz is one area I believe Sanchez will make strides in in 2012 and hopefully his completion percentage proves that. A better understanding of the plays and their design will allow Sanchez to make quicker decisions with increased confidence. Improved accuracy on short throws and open windows to deliver passes through can help improve the Jets all around pass game significantly.
A well balanced offense is the toughest type to defend and with Mark Sanchez operating this new system and being supplemented by Tim Tebow and the Wildcat the Jets have the ability to rise as one of the more formidable offenses in the National Football League.
2012 Mark Sanchez Prediction