Has Mark Sanchez Hit a Wall?


Oct 28, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) calls out a play against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Dolphins won 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Let’s talk about everybody’s favorite whipping boy, Mark Sanchez. Nobody receives more criticism than this guy, some because Tim Tebow is here, some just because of his poor play. I am not here to say that the criticism isn’t warranted. He’s a starting quarterback in the biggest media market in the world, and an inconsistent one. Whether you put all the blame on Mark Sanchez’s abilities, or you factor in outside issues, the fact remains that he has been terribly inconsistent. Mark is a world beater at times, and a pee-wee leaguer at others. So I ask the questions, after almost four years in the league:

Has Mark Sanchez hit a wall?

It certainly is an argument worth making, as pointed out by William Spano during the Flight 5 spreecast this past Friday. He makes an interesting point, talking about the fact that going to the AFC title game in his first two seasons should have been a springboard for Mark Sanchez. It should have propelled him forward into a career that would move towards being an elite quarterback. Instead, you could make the argument that since the 2010 AFC title game, Mark Sanchez has taken steps backwards, making some mistakes that he made when he was a rookie, and baffling a lot of Jets fans.

When you take a look at the guy with the eye test, it is more than a fair point. Mark, at times, does not look like a leader. Instead of putting the Jets in position to win, he has at times put them in position to lose. He throws interceptions that are born out of terrible decisions. Even more than that, he makes bad passes due to simple inaccuracy. He can put the ball in the right place when he is on his game, but when he is not, his ball can put his receiver in harm’s way, and certainly doesn’t give his man a chance to make a play.

You can take a look at his demeanor and have a problem too. He never gets in the face of his teammates, trying to lead them and lift them up. Let’s face it, there are times that when things aren’t going well, he sulks, both on the sidelines and even on the field. Then, we hear him go into his post game press conferences, and many are not impressed. He doesn’t take a lot of responsibility for his play, and that understandably bothers fans. So, the question is a good one. Has he hit the wall?

I will talk about it more on the next page.

October 28, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) reacts to the missed pass in 2nd quarter against the Miami Dolphins at New MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

Here is why, in my opinion, Mark Sanchez has not hit the wall.

First of all, the Jets need to re-establish their identity. Oh, Tony Sparano talked about it a lot during the offseason, but where has it been? Mark Sanchez has been at his best when the Jets have been a run-first football team. Mark, to be effective, must be able to work off of play action, rollouts,..etc. Like it or not, he is not the guy that is going to dominate a game with his arm. Tony Sparano seemed aware of this, when talking about getting back to being a physical, run-first team. However, Mark Sanchez is on pace to record the most passing attempts of his career. In the short term, the Jets need to play into Mark’s strength. They need to limit his attempts and get the ground game going.

Secondly, the Jets have written a playbook on how NOT to develop a quarterback. To all of my Mark Sanchez haters that read this blog, whether you want to admit it or not, it’s the truth. The Jets have done everything possble to not allow this young man to succeed. Be honest about it, and you will know that it is true. What great quarterback has had to change almost all of his weapons, every single season? Go ahead, I’ll wait. DOESN’T HAPPEN! Note this comparision next is not comparing the QBs, just their situation. How long did Peyton Manning get to work with Marvin Harrison? Did they change that up on him every year? NO! Why? Because the Colts understood that to develop a quarterback, he needs to be able to develop chemistry with his weapons. Another example that comes to my mind is Joe Montana. Again, not comparing their ability, just how they were groomed. Joe Montana had the same receivers to work with, almost EVERY YEAR! Yes, they moved from Dwight Clark to Jerry Rice, but that was after several years of having Dwight Clark on the team. For several years going forward, BOTH of Montana’s weapons remained consistent, Jerry Rice and John Taylor. Again, the 49ers understood how to develop a young quarterback.

Finally, I forgot who said it, but it is accurate. The saying goes, “When you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.” How often has a two quarterback system worked in the NFL? Again, I’ll wait. The answer is never. It almost ruined the Cowboys when they tried it in the 70s. Heck, when the Broncos tried it with Kyle Orton and the guy that walks on water, Mr. Tebow, they won 4 GAMES! No quarterback is going to be successful in this situation. I said it in the beginning of the year and I say it again, this setup was bound to fail from the day the trade was closed.

I am ready for all of your tweets now, about how I make excuses for Mark Sanchez. Read this article carefully, I very much do NOT do that. I have taken Mark apart a lot for how inaccurate he is. He doesn’t make consistent plays, and they are plays that he should be able to make by now. He is not an elite quarterback, and he may never be one. That being said, he CAN still work in this system. If the Jets started developing him correctly, and got back to their identity. The problems I have identified are factors in his play, whether Mark’s haters like it or not. Be honest about it.

It may be too late for Mark Sanchez to make it here. In my opinion, that will be a shame.