Can Mark Sanchez Please Anyone in New York?

By Alan Schechter
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August 18, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) drops back to pass during the second quarter of a preseason game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

This Monday morning, we are going to talk about Mark Sanchez. Specifically, about how Mark Sanchez has performed this preseason. Despite the interception Saturday night, Mark has played better. There are times, however, that it’s hard to believe he will EVER please the fans of New York.

Mark Sanchez is not a perfect quarterback, not by a long shot. That’s not the point. He has a lot to correct. The point being made is, that he is doing as much as he can, based on what the defense is giving him. But, if you read Twitter, you would think that he hasn’t completed a pass all summer. Let’s talk about his performance to date.

ACCURACY

Throughout Mark’s career, everyone has had complaints about his accuracy, which have been valid. Everyone says he is not accurate enough, that he must raise his completion percentage. A good NFL quarterback has a completion percentage of at least 60%. OK, fair.

What is Mark Sanchez’s completion percentage so far in the preseason? 76.5%.

Drew Brees so far? 68.2%. How about Aaron Rodgers? 42.1%.

No, I am not trying to say that Mark Sanchez is a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. Far from it, actually. What I AM saying, however, is that Mark Sanchez is improving his accuracy, which has been a major issue for him. This is the preseason, and his completion percentage is improving, which is what we want. Be fair.

SHOTS DOWN THE FIELD

Sanchez’s average yards per pass is very low, 4.7 yards to be exact. That is horrible, to put it bluntly, and gives Jets fans every reason to complain.

And complain, people are doing a lot of. Look at the Twitter timelines out there for Jets fans, bloggers..etc. Everyone is upset at Mark for not taking shots down the field. “All he does it dump it off,” is the common theme among many fans.

What I want to talk about is, why he is not taking shots down the field. The answer is, protection, protection, protection.

Mark has been sacked 5 times in only 3 quarters of play. 5 times. Take it further. He has attempted only 17 passes. So look at the numbers, he almost has approximately 1/3 of the number of sacks as the number of dropoffs. In only three quarters of play. Imagine if that was the pace that Sanchez is sacked during the regular season. He would have a tough time getting through the season without injury.

Shots down the field take time, folks. Watch the tape, the line is barely giving Mark Sanchez two seconds to get the ball out. Stephen Hill is fast, but he can’t actually fly. A shot down the field takes at least three seconds to develop. If Mark Sanchez is only getting two seconds, all he can possibly do is dump the ball off.

To all of the people that want him to take shots down the field, do you want him to do it just for the hell of it? Then, when it gets picked off, all the stories would be about how Mark Sanchez was reckless with the football. You can’t have it both ways.

You want Mark to be efficient with the football, and other than the pick 6, that is exactly what Mark has been so far.

HEALTHY WIDE RECEIVERS

As Rex Ryan put it, the wide receivers have been a M*A*S*H unit. Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, were all out on Saturday night.

In order to take shots and feel comfortable with wide receivers, they have to be out on the field. I seemed to notice that Mark has gotten some nice chemistry together with Patrick Turner. Why? Because he has been out on the field.

That is even forgetting the fact that Mark Sanchez’s weapons are changed on him every season, but that is for a different discussion.

You can’t open up the playbook with guys that haven’t been on the football field, despite the standard that everyone holds Mark Sanchez up to.

WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?

OK, Mark Sanchez critics, let’s throw everything out for a minute. Forget everything from the last couple of pages, and assume Mark Sanchez is terrible, and cannot get it done in New York anymore……..

What do you want to do about it? Start Tim Tebow?

OK, Tim can run around a bit, and make something out of nothing when the pass protection breaks down. Well, sometimes, as we saw on Saturday, Tim can get sacked too.

Granted, Tim can make some plays that Mark can’t, no doubt. He even made some decent throws, I will give that to him as well.

But, he also makes some very bad throws. The mis-throw to a wide open Stephen Hill in the endzone is inexcusable from an NFL quarterback. Furthermore, he made some excuse about it after the game, look at what he had to say:

I (didn’t) exactly notice where the safety was so I tried to put it low (for him to) come back.

How about, “I made a terrible throw.”? “My throw cost us a touchdown”? That would have been the accurate statement about it, not an excuse. As you watched him throw passes in the flat to Josh Baker that were intended for an 8 foot guy, ask yourself, if you don’t like Sanchez, is this what you want?

Yes, Sanchez threw a pick six, and a horrible one at that. Guess what? Tom Brady has thrown them. It doesn’t make Mark “horrible”, and not worth starting.

Is Mark Sanchez elite? Probably not. But is he terrible? No. He is getting better, despite a lot of NY fans desperate attempts to not see it.

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