Can Mark Sanchez Be Rehabilitated in New York?


Dec. 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) throws the ball during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

You have heard me debate this issue many times on this website, whether or not Mark Sanchez should be back with the team in 2013. Despite the fact that I still believe Sanchez has ability, I am of the opinion that he should move to another team, both for the team’s sake, and Mark’s sake. In order to restart his career, after all that has happened, the best thing for him to do would be to leave and start over in another city. The scrutiny will likely be too much here in NY.

That being said, it is looking more and more like Mark Sanchez will be on this roster in 2013. New general manager John Idzik said that he is “comfortable” with Mark on the roster, and the money that is involved cannot be ignored. Unless some radical change in contract happens, or some desperate team comes aorund and pays him, Mark Sanchez will be here.

However, he will have competition. Hopefully it won’t be JaMarcus Russell, but SOMEONE will be here to compete for the starting position. This issue comes up because the debate has started, as to whether or not Mark Sanchez rehabilitate his game here in New York. Some of his harshest critics have said that the answer is no, and that he shouldn’t even be given the oportunity to compete for the job. To that end I say, why not?

I am not saying it’s going to be easy, but quarterbacks have turned it around before. Why can’t Mark do it?

To illustrate, let’s look at a guy that many want to be the guy to come in here to compete with, and eventually replace Mark Sanchez. Alex Smith.

Alex was chosen as the first overall pick in th 2005 NFL draft. With that, came the expectations that we all have with a number one pick. Did he meet them? Not even close. San Francisco fans wanted him run out of town almost as fast as Jets fans want Sanchez gone. In his best year prior to Harbaugh, Alex threw 8 TDs vs 12 INTs. His completion percentage exceeded 60% that season, but barely, and before Harbaugh, this was the only season he exeeded that number.

Jan 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh during media day in preparation for Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Then, from out of the heavens, came Jim Harbaugh. He came with his system, and brought out the beast in Alex Smith, as he led the 49ers to the NFC title game in 2011. That year, Smith threw for 17 TDs vs only 5 INTs, showing the potential that he had been waiting to show. Despite being benched this year, Alex was throwing for a 70% completion rate, with 13 TDs vs only 5 INTs. If this isn’t clear evidence that Smith “got it”, I don’t know what is.

Smith was rehabilitated, in a city that wanted to run him out of town.

Why can’t Mark? He certainly has had far more success here early in his career than Alex Smith had. Despite what Mark’s detractors say, his four road playoff wins do still exist. The wins against Peyton Manning in the playoffs, and Tom Brady in the playoffs, have not been wiped from the history books. The fact that the Jets were ahead in the AFC Championship game at halftime happened. Mark Sanchez was a big part of all of that. How can a guy that no early success (Alex Smith) be rehabilitated, but someone who had a lot of success (Mark Sanchez) can’t?

Don’t get me wrong, it will take a lot of work. Marty Mornhinweg and David Lee will have a major issue on their hands, as much created by the Jets treatment of this quaterback as it is by how he played. Whatever the reason, what they have on their hands is a broken quarterback. His psyche, despite what he says, is in the toilet. However, Marty Mornhinweg runs a very quarterback friendly system, and David Lee is a quality QB coach. If anyone can do it, it’s these two.

If Mark Sanchez is back in 2013, which he likely will be, he should compete for the job. Will he win it? It’s hard to say, but playing him does not guarantee failure. Even Mark Sanchez can be rehabilitated.