Inside the Jets vs. Texans Film Room: Offense


Oct. 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is sacked by Houston Texans outside linebacker Brooks Reed (58) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Time to go inside the film room, and take a look at the offensive side of the football from the Monday night battle with the Houston Texans. There is a lot that can be talked about in this one, but I wanted to take a look at a popular topic around the New York Jets. That topic is the starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Jets fans fall on all sides of the map on this guy, from those that love him to those who want him out the door yesterday, (I’m talking to you, Frankie Vittorini).

But all joking aside, one thing is for sure, Mark Sanchez drives Jets fans crazy. Why? Inconsistency. After looking at the tape, there is a huge difference in Mark’s accuracy when he throws inside the numbers vs. when he throws outside the numbers, and this showed itself on Monday night. Here are two prime examples. First we will look at a throw inside the numbers, the early Jeff Cumberland touchdown.

Mark Sanchez is lined up in the gun, Jeff Cumberland is lined up in the slot (circled in green). He ends up one on one with the close defender circled in red, as the deep safety comes up to help on a shorter route on the wide receiver. The green arrow indicates Cumberland, who runs a post pattern down the left hash mark.

Mark Sanchez is looking at Jeff Cumberland all the way here. Look in the red circle, you can see that the defender has Cumberland covered to the inside. If Mark makes the throw to the inside(the broken black line), the defender has him blanketed, and Cumberland is not likely to break free to make the catch. The only way Mark can make the completion is if he makes the throw to Cumberland’s outside shoulder(the blue line). Take a look at how it turns out.

Sanchez makes a beautifully placed throw on the outside shoulder of Jeff Cumberland……

Jeff Cumberland goes up for the grab, bobbles slightly, then secures it for a touchdown. The point is that the play was between the numbers, and Mark made a great throw. He put it in the only spot that his receiver could have made the catch.

Even Mark Sanchez doubters liked the throw, as our buddy and Flight 5 Co-Host Frankie Vittorini put it to us via Twitter during the game:

Sanchez is money, deep middle.

This is when Mark is at his best, making throws like that. But, sometimes we see the other Mark, especially when his is throwing outside the numbers, and that is what drives Jets fans like the aforementioned Frankie Vittorini(@hashtagfrankie) crazy, and rightfully so. We will take a look at the example of that on the next page, the Cromartie incompletion.

Let’s set the scene. Mark is under center with two backs behind him. Antonio Cromartie is lined up one on one at the bottome of the screen (Cromartie circled in green, defender in red). Let’s watch as the play begins to unfold because Antonio Cromartie puts a great move on the cornerback, and sets the stage for Sanchez’s opportunity for a momentum shifting throw.

Here is the pivotal part of the route when Cromartie is able to break wide open. Mark Sanchez is looking downfield for Cromartie. Cromartie, circled in green, he has slowed down just a bit, to set up the cornerback, circled in red. Notice that he has his back to the sideline, facing the inside of the field. Here is where Antonio Cromartie makes his great move, showing the skills he does have as a wide receiver. Right here, as indicated, he takes one step to the inside with his left foot, and then just bursts to the outside and up the sidelines. Take a look at the next shot and see how wide open this makes Antonio.

Antonio turns on his brilliant speed, as you can see from the picture. He has opened up a good 2 yard gap between him and the cornerback. If Mark can put the ball down the field, over the top for Cromartie, and give him the opportunity to continue with his brilliant speed, he makes the catch and walks into the endzone. If Mark puts it to far to the outside, as indicated by the red line, Cromartie will have a very small window to make a play. Let’s see how it unfolds.

Here comes where Mark Sanchez drives everyone crazy, as he makes the throw exactly where we don’t want him to make it. Notice Antonio Cromartie’s feet, circled in black. They are indicating what we saw in the game, the fact that Mark didn’t lead Antonio with the throw. Instead, he underthrew it, and put it way too close to the sidelines. You can tell by his feet that Antonio has already stopped, waiting for the ball to come down. The ball is circled in red, and the flight is indicated in red as well, making it’s way to the worst spot in this situation, Cromartie’s outside shoulder.

Antonio Cromartie comes down with the football, but because the ball was so short, the defender is right on him. Thus, he has no room to get his feet down, so instead of an easy touchdown that changes the game, it’s just a long incomplete pass. And the only reason for it is a horrible throw by Mark Sanchez.

This is why Mark drives everybody nuts. Inside the numbers, he is throwing it with the best of them, but outside the numbers he tends to make throws like that. He showed it on Monday night, that he is just inconsisent, and this needs to get better for him to keep this job long term.

Stay tuned this afternoon for JETSerious and his defensive film review.