Tony Sparano on his Quarterback, Mark Sanchez
By Alan Schechter
Sep 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) walks towards Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano on the bench late in the 4th quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
We have all heard the criticisms of Mark Sanchez. Whichever end of the debate you fall on, you know that the criticism is there. The whole offense has to get better, along with Mark. We all saw the product on the field, Sanchez doesn’t shoulder all of the blame. But, as the starting quarterback, the buck stops with him.
Friday is always the day we hear from the coordinators, so let’s see what Sparano had to say about his confidence in Sanchez’s ability to raise the play of the guys around him:
I think first of all to answer your question, yes. Secondly, and this is a little different, but he doesn’t necessarily have to do that. Mark’s a piece to the puzzle. Some of these other guys around him have been here for a while and they have to step up. As I’ve said to them a million times, it’s next man up. You suffer body blows, every team does it. From our end here, we have to be able to do that (and) the next guy has to step up. We haven’t had a guy like Dustin Keller really all season long and Jeff Cumberland I think has done a really good job. Konrad (Reuland) has done a good job of stepping up in there and filling in for those players. I think Mark can do that through his work ethic. He’s kept these players after practice here all week long and he’s spent extra time in the meeting room with them. Those type of things and that’s how I think he can do it right now. When the ball drops you have to go out there and play. He really can’t be worried about that when he’s out there, they have to do their job.
This is what I have been trying to say for a while. Yes, Mark has to be better, but the other guys have to elevate what they are doing right along with him. It takes eleven guys.
Here is what he had to say on how he evaluates Sanchez:
I look at his quarterback play over the last three weeks and I say, ‘Where are we going with the football? What’s the decision grade? What’s the location grade? How many drops? How many shots?’ (A) shot play, when you’re calling it, when you’re taking a chance and you’re throwing the ball down the field like that, your chances of completing those, obviously decrease. You can go out there and throw a bunch of two-yard passes if you want to. (Bill) Parcells used to say it takes 20 of those to score and he’s right. I think that part of it is something you need to look at. When I look at that, I evaluate those things. Mark is making good decisions with the football. He’s going to the right places with the football. There are a couple of them I’m sure he’s told you (he wants back) and he would tell you he maybe should of went someplace else if he had the chance to do it over again, if he had a chance to take a play back. But there are no do-overs. You’re out there and the game is happening fast. The ball is in his hands every single play. He has made very good decisions with the football.
Sept. 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) and quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) on the sidelines against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at MetLife Stadium. 49ers won 34-0. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Mark is doing a good job working with the wide receivers to get back on the same page, as Tony Sparano noted:
He has done a really good job all week. When you have new parts, it’s no different than in training camp. I would urge you to go look at the last time that we’ve really had No.84 (Stephen Hill), No.81 (Dustin Keller), No.11 (Jeremy Kerley) and No.10 (Santonio Holmes) on the field at the same time. Honestly, when you’re looking at those things, the good news is a Chaz Schilens has gotten all the plays (and) Jeff Cumberland has gotten a lot of work. It’s not new to them and Mark is a little bit more familiar with them, but he has done a really nice job of being more active in (saying), “Hey, you need to be here, this needs to look more like this.” I think that’s important. Chad Pennington used to do a tremendous job with that. There are times in practice where the practice would be a lot longer because I’d have to wait for Chad because he’d be out there at the hash mark someplace coaching a receiver. That’s a good thing because you want to know that they’re where you need them to be. That’s good constructive criticism and good communication between receivers, quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends and anybody involved that way. He’s done a really good job of that this week. I’m encouraged. He’s done an excellent job of it the last couple of weeks.
Sometimes, a player’s actions speak ounder than their words with regards to how they lead. Mark is working hard to get this right. Is it possible that he won’t get the chance to fix it by the end of the year? Possible, but Mark is working his rear end off, that’s for sure.
It is a concern with any QB that they don’t do too much, which a quarterback can do at times. Here’s Sparano’s take on it:
Not mentioning anything about pressing or any of those issues, this goes back to first meetings in Cortland and those things. In general, with any of the quarterbacks, I don’t think you want to (put) too much on them like that and I don’t think you have to (put) too much on them like that. Those guys have a hard enough job when they’re out there, doing what they do in the course of a football game. It’s interesting, I did an exercise in Cortland one time, and I asked a couple of players to get up in front of the room and said, “You’re the quarterback.” You stand there now and I threw a play out, boom I spit the play out and said now you have to say it to the offense. You have to get it out. You have to get to the line of scrimmage. You have to make a mike identification. You have to read the coverage. You have to do all that. (There was) total silence. I don’t think there’s too many of them signing up for that.
Hopefully Mark can make Tony’s faith come true, and soon.