New York Jets Owner Woody Johnson, newly hired GM John Idzik, and Head Coach Rex Ryan all have a big decision to make. We all know that something has to give, regarding the Revis situation… But is there another decision that could have a franchise-altering impact? I believe so… And it involves #6.
Let me just say this: Coming off a horrific 26 turnover season (52 in 2 years), it’s hard to be a Sanchez-apologist. But that’s not my intention.
My intention is to address the quarterback position, keeping the recent past, present, and future into consideration.
So, before I say I have Mark’s back, or suggest that the Jets should draft West Virginia’s QB Geno Smith…. Hear me out.
Here is the Jets Current Depth at QB Mark Sanchez David Garrard Greg McElroy Tim Tebow Matt Simms
Potential QB prospects Geno Smith Matt Barkley EJ Manuel Ryan Nassib Matt Glennon
The Jets brass MUST plan, if they have not yet, to fix this problem. Are they sold on Mark? If they are, how can he restore his confidence? If not, do they believe that Geno Smith (or any other top QB in the 2013 draft) is a FRANCHISE QB?
Once this is figured out, it could shape, or even destroy the Jets plans for the future.
For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on Mark. We’ll assume the Jets let him play out his current contract in 2013, while adding other pieces in this month’s draft. Then, see how things play out and take it from there.
So what exactly is the problem with Mark? His recent body of work, body language, and leadership intangables, have been average, at best. And I think most would agree, that’s being generous.
If you compare Mark’s play the past two seasons, to his first two seasons, there are a couple of things that Mark needs to fix.
First thing’s first.
Sanchez needs to drop weight and become a little bit more athletic. He had quick feet in the pocket, dropping back in 2009, ’10, and some of ’11. However, Mark’s elusiveness inside the pocket completely vanished when he bulked up last offseason.
Why’d he bulk up, anyway?
Mark definitely felt the heat from Tim Tebow last offseason, and wanted to out-do him in every aspect of the game… even in the weight room. From Mark’s perspective, it wasn’t a terrible decision to bulk up. In his eyes, he thought it would help him absorb big hits, just a little bit better. And it could have. Unfortunately, he lost some speed and athleticsm in the process, further regressing his game. Eventually, he must’ve felt obligated to carry the offense. With no real playmakers last season, Mark tried to make too many things happen, while he was under duress . Few QB’s can overcome adversity like this, so it’s not all on Mark. But it is, however, Mark’s responsibility to fix what he can control… starting with his confidence.
How can Mark fix his confidence?
As I noted before, his game slowed down and he tried to make up for it, attempting to extend plays and make things happen on his own. He can avoid being put in that position if he can speed up his drop-back, progressions, and reads. That way, he’ll be ahead of the defense, as opposed to falling behind in time and the overall speed of the game. Also, it’d allow Mark to avoid major traffic before it occurs in the backfield… An over-occurring dilemma for the Jets offense last season.
Suggestion for Mark:
Take Jeff Garcia’s advice with a grain of salt. He can tutor Mark to a certain extent, but remember this: Garcia’s failures ran him out of the league. You could argue that Mark has had more success as an NFL QB, and he’s only 26!
The point is, Mark, learn the system a little bit better from Jeff, and then, get your swag back! He needs to watch game-tape from 2009/2010 and compare it to the tape from 2011/2012. He can go from there, marking down any necessary workouts that can help him improve in the areas he needs the most help in (footwork/quickness in the pocket, in my opinion).
Finally, Mark needs to believe in himself. If the Jets front office chooses to go with Mark, and not draft a QB, he has to feel good about his position. As long as Mark has his head held high, leads by example, and avoids making poor decisions, he can be the asset that he once was, leading the Jets to two AFC Championship Games.
To further explain my point, I’ll leave everyone with some highlights of Mark Sanchez’s rookie year. Notice how his drop-back is quick, and he delivers the ball, anticipating where the receiver will be.
Now this is what we expect Mark to look like, year in, and year out.
No excuses Mark. Get the job done.
Thanks for reading!
Be sure to Follow @JETSerious on Twitter!