Sunday’s Game Could Be Great…or Terrible for Mark Sanchez
By Alan Schechter
Dec 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) fakes a handoff during the first half of their game against the Arizona Cardinals at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
As you wake up to this article, it’s been almost 24 hours since Rex Ryan announced his decision to go back to Mark Sanchez for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars. For better or for worse, that is the decision that the coach has made and that we have to live with. Whatever the motivation, be it football or financial, this is where we are. What we do know is that this could be Mark’s last stand as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets. This final quarter of the 2012 season might very well determine his status in his position. What’s interesting is, with all of the different angles, this is an “all or nothing” scenario. This game will either be Mark’s coming out party, or a dud that all but ends his career as a Jets starter.
First about how it could be great for Mark.
His recent history against the Jaguars has been good. The Jets played Jacksonville in week 2 of 2011, a game that the Jets dominated, winning 32-3. That day, Mark completed 17-24 passes, over 70% completion, to go along with 2 TD’s and 2 INT’s. That game was in NY, but the way things are going these days for Mark, it’s probably a better idea for him to be playing on the road. The Jets faithful have been so against him, he will almost have a “road field” advantage playing in Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are 2-10. For all of the problems the Jets have had, this is a team that the Jets are clearly better than, and should be able to beat. The Jaguars defense is ranked 31st overall, allowing 404.9 yards per game. Against the pass, Jacksonville is ranked 28th in the NFL. If Mark is ever going to get it right, this will be the week to do so. They are middle of the road in interceptions on defense, ranked 15th, hardly the second ranking that the Arizona Cardinals enjoy. Against the rush, the Jaguars defense is ranked 31st overall. This defense is ripe for the beating. If the Jets can’t get it together against THIS defense, we have to wonder if they EVER will get it right.
But….it could go the other way.
What cannot be quantified is the psyche of Mark Sanchez. We have talked about it at length, that he is a beaten football player right now. He clearly wasn’t happy about being removed from the game on Sunday, and after the game, looked like a lost football player. He sounded better during yesterday’s talk with the media, but don’t let that fool you. We know what this guy is like when he is under pressure. He crumbles. When he makes one mistake, he just hasn’t been resilient enough to come back from it. Instead, the mistakes multiply, and the bad decisions continue. He knows that he is on a shorter leash this Sunday in Jacksonville. Mark will come out if he struggles, and now he knows it. How do you think he is going to react knowing that he could come out of the game at the first mistake? I, for one, think that could be big trouble for him and the Jets.
This can go either way, really good, or terrible. I know we all are hoping for the former.