Let me preface with something I’ve said many times: I don’t think bad coaches can ruin a great QB, so it’s probable that Mark Sanchez was never going to be great anyway. Having said that, the thing that always did and still does piss me off the most about the Sanchez era, was the CONSTANT worry and over the top focus on turnovers and trying to get in his head about not making mistakes. In my opinion that’s the worst thing to preach to a young QB. Nothing good about making a QB over think and doubt himself. And if anybody ever paid attention, it never worked. The more they stressed mistakes and turnovers, the more he made and the worst he got. Say what you want, and I know you will but Mark Sanchez was at his absolute best (the few times) over the years when they just let him go out there, not think too much, and just let it fly and wing the ball over the field. But, former Jets OC Brian Schottenheimer and HC Rex Ryan were too inept and clueless to notice that trend. That should always be the mentality and goal every time when grooming a young QB and the absolute LAST mentality I want in this kid’s mind, in MY young QB’s mind is for him to be afraid to make mistakes and turn the ball over. I want him going out there and winging the ball all over the field, and if there are turnovers along the way, so be it!
Again, a naturally great QB will be great regardless. Situations may dictate how much he dominates – but if he’s great, he’s going to find some level of success regardless of the situation. So NO, I don’t think Ryan prevented Sanchez from being great. With that said, teams have found success and won SB’s with QBs that were not elite, or hadn’t developed into elite QBs yet. Having a great QB gives you the greatest chance of winning, but it’s possible to find success with a decent QB having a good year. I think Sanchez had a lot more potential coming into the league than the butt fumble he has NOW become. Let’s be honest, winning a SB with Sanchez under center was a perceivable possibility at one point. Had he been developed by the right people, who knows? He might have still only gone down as a decent/average QB, a game manager type, but even those types have won SBs in the past. Look at someone like Brad Johnson, who overall was considered a game manager, but he had a couple of good seasons, and in one of them won a SB. I think Sanchez at least had potential for that in the beginning.
During Mark Sanchez’s first season he had a monstrous game vs the Bills, the 5 int game that Thomas Jones ran wild in. A week after said game, Ryan and Schotty slapped Sanchez with what’s now famously known as the “Color Coded Wrist Band” or “CCWB” for short or “WTF” for shorter. Let me be clear about something here; the ONLY person that needs to be walking around with color coded wrist bands is Wonder Woman, THAT’S IT. Shackling your rookie QB with a color coded wrist band is essentially the same as handcuffing them and it essentially tells them that you are more concerned about turnovers and don’t want them taking risks. It’s a play NOT to lose mentality for sure and nothing else.
If your HC handcuffs you while you’re in the middle of your “sponge” stage, it sticks with you. If your HC plays NOT to lose after you make mistakes, it messes with your confidence and psyche and no matter what side of the ‘What happened to Sanchez” fence you fall on, this aspect of it isn’t even debatable. Whatever Mark Sanchez was on his way to becoming (watch his very first game as a Pro vs the Texans and we see a totally different QB, not afraid to take chances and throwing all over the field) whether it was a game manager or something slightly better, it was stunted with the inadequate, ineffective, “play not to lose” offensive philosophy that Rex Ryan implemented.
With that said; the Jets have a grand opportunity to change the mindset of the QB position in more than one way. They drafted a very talented and promising QB in Geno Smith and paired him up with respected Offensive Coordinator Marty Morninweg and honestly, Geno couldn’t have asked to be placed under a better offensive mind, something Sanchez could’ve used his rookie year. The mentality needs to be different, the mindset needs to be altered and the philosophy needs to be modified. Whatever it takes, Geno has the opportunity to give the Jets fans more and better consistency at the QB position once he takes over but it needs to be done differently, it needs to be done better, whatever the Jets did with Mark Sanchez, YEAH….. DONT DO THAT!