Aug. 18, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Jets win 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
I wanted to make sure that I write this article before I see Geno Smith in game 3 against the Giants. Wanted it to be from the heart. I have been one of the main proponents of Mark Sanchez for the last 4 years. Many have said he’s just a good back up in terms of talent level. Many have said he’s awful. I was the first one ready to talk about the 2 back to back AFC championship game runs his first two years. When someone talks about all of the turnovers I was quick to point out that last season was his only really down year. I justified this by saying the following: If you look at his 2011 season, where he threw 26 TD’s and ran for 6 TD’s, you don’t bench someone coming off of creating 32 touchdowns and then say it’s a down season. It’s hard enough to score once, he scored 32 touchdowns and we said he was mediocre. I’ve always been of the mindset, that you need to surround him with more offensive talent, not use a draft pick on a replacement for him. Then last season came, and Santonio Holmes was lost for the year. Dustin Keller was in and out all year. Stephen Hill was out for a while. Sanchez didn’t have the receivers necessary to throw the ball. How can we blame the guy for having a bad year, when he’s throwing passes to off the street players like Jason Hill?
This off season though, I’ve been seeing things a little differently. It’s not that I dislike Mark Sanchez. And I do not think he sucks as a quarterback. I think Mark Sanchez is a victim of Mark Sanchez. This is what I mean. Last week in game 2 against Jacksonville, Mark gets to the red zone and throws an interception to a double covered Kellen Winslow Jr. If he waits, or pumps the ball, he can throw to Stephen Hill. A few series later, he holds the ball with 6 seconds left on 3rd down at the 5 yard line until time expires throwing a pass, trying desperately to create a touchdown. These two things are emblematic of Mark Sanchez. If he waits in the first scenario he either throws a touchdown, or an incomplete pass, and the Jets score 3-7 points. If he doesn’t hold the ball when he knows he has 6 seconds left, the Jets score on a field goal. Mark Sanchez has left 6-10 points on the field just this one game. Then I go back to game 1. On the first series, Mark throws an interception that results in a 7 point swing to a defensive lineman. In a two week period, in an off season all about a QB battle, Mark Sanchez has single-handedly given away 13-17 points.
Points are hard to come by in the NFL. Sanchez is on pace to, either by turnover or bad decision making, cost the team 6-10 points on offense per game. That means if they average 23 PPG for the season, they would really have averaged 30 a game had he not done these things, that he does too often. I want to clarify though. A turnover is not a big deal, and I won’t harp on every one. If it’s 3rd and 10 and you are on the opponents 45 and you let one fly and it gets picked off at the opponent’s 10 yard line, I think the turnover is a positive net result. While some people will harp on the turnover, the next play would have been a punt, so the result is the same or better. If you turn the ball over in either your or your opponents redzone it is always a big deal, because that directly results in points scored for the other team.
Now enters Geno Smith. I have no idea if he will win the starting job, or what his stat line, or game outcome will be tonight. But I will say this: If he does not “cost” the Jets any offensive points, or “give” the defense any more points, I would say I am in line to get into the Geno Smith boat. I’m a Sanchez fan still, but more than that I am a Jets fan. I am all about who can help this team win. Right now that is all about the guy that is not surrendering Jets points to the other team.