NY Jets: The case for the return of Mark Sanchez

By Todd Gerstenhaber
Nov 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) is pressured by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Buccaneers defeated the Eagles, 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) is pressured by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Buccaneers defeated the Eagles, 45-17. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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If the NY Jets lose Ryan Fitzpatrick via free agency and once again have a quarterback situation on their hands, they should consider reuniting with a familiar face.

The Jets are in the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers and against that bad man that is known as Aaron Rodgers. Bart Scott couldn’t wait for this game. Revis Island is ready to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top receiving threats. Jets fans can’t wait for “Tone Time” in the 4th quarter, when the polarizing wide receiver will likely make a play against his former team to put the Jets over the top.

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Throwing him that pass is none other than Mark “The Sanchize” Sanchez. As the most successful playoff quarterbacks not named Broadway Joe, the man who the Jets traded up for in the 2009 NFL Draft will do just what the fan base imagined when he was drafted: lift the Lombardi trophy with trash-talking Rex Ryan at his side, standing on top of a soapbox singing the praises of his team, telling the world how he said they would do this – and they did.

Fast forward nine months later, and the Jets are again being tested by their rivals – Tom Brady and the New England Patriots – on the national stage of Thanksgiving Night football on NBC. Sanchez scrambles, scans the field and throws a beautiful touch pass to a sprinting Braylon Edwards, who soars into the end zone and makes that famous Jets symbol with his arms to send the MetLife Stadium crowd into a frenzy. The Jets once again make a playoff run, winning back-to-back titles and dethroning the boys from Foxborough. Not even a sideline camera can help the Patriots now.

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This is what we all wanted to happen. Bill Belichick was going to kiss Rex’s jewelry, footballs would be buried after rare regular season losses, and Rex, Marky Mark, and ‘Tone would have a joint Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Except, Mark and the Jets fizzled at the most important moments- as many Jets teams in recent memory have. There’s a reason Jets fans – and hecklers – love using that famous slogan: Same Old Jets. The script is the same, the characters just change.

With a quarterback carousel forming in the free agent market, and the Eagles recently inking one of their own to a lucrative contract – there’s a chance our old pal Mark Sanchez could hit the open market. This leaves an interesting situation open. What if the Jets take a flyer on a guy like Sanchez? With the quarterback market thinning and prices rising, Sanchez could be a low-risk high reward option. One of the points Sanchez supporters will make is that he never had great weapons surrounding him. General Manager Mike Maccagnan isn’t just assembling players – he’s creating a puzzle. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can be successful in this offense, then who’s to say Sanchez can’t?

Yes, we’ve been down this road before. Mark will throw a pick at the most crucial moment, butt-fumble or get rocked by a sprinting linebacker. He will show up at the podium postgame, giving us the same explanation and saying the same company lines. It’s exactly why none of what was described above didn’t happen. If Fitzpatrick can get chance after chance – or if he leaves and goes to the Denver Broncos or Los Angeles Rams – then you have to ask yourself a question that will make your head spin – why not Sanchez? If you can’t answer that, or if your only reason is because his name is Mark Sanchez, then he needs to get a look.

Remember, Sanchez is the only quarterback in franchise history to take them to back-to-back AFC Championship Games. The regime he had at the time started to mess with his confidence by not bringing him better support and playing games with the entire Tim Tebow debacle.

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It’s Week 1 of the 2016 season. Those pesky Buffalo Bills are making the trip down to MetLife with old pal Rex Ryan in tow. The storylines that were created last year become that much more intense with the Jets reunion with the guy they bet the future on seven years ago. The first play from scrimmage, Sanchez scans the field to find a wide open Matt Forte in the flat, slings the pass, and gets significant yardage. Mark flashes a smile, and the Jets faithful – and Fireman Ed – are ready to watch the offense tear up the field in a decisive victory to avenge last year’s Week 17 loss.

Suddenly, all seems right in the world, even if it’s just a dream.

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