To continue with the second installment of a six-part series that analyzes young quarterbacks on prominent NFL teams, we will look at third-year Jets QB Mark Sanchez — or as I like to call him Mark “Mediocreface.”
Of the six field generals being put under the microscope, I have maybe the least optimism for Sanchez becoming an elite NFL quarterback. It’s not because I don’t like the guy. He takes his role as the only Mexican-American professional quarterback seriously by trying to be a role model to Latino Youth.
However, when it comes to matters on the field, 12-year-old boys around the country should find another QB to model their game after.
It is true Sanchez is one of the most winning quarterbacks ever in his first two seasons. But I would venture to say that any of the top 20 quarterbacks in the league could have done the same or better if they had the talent around them Sanchez has.
In fact, when you look at his career numbers, it seems the Jets have been successful despite the play of Sanchez.
He has a 54.7 completion percentage, 7,280 yards, 41 touchdowns, 39 interceptions and a 72.9 passer rating in two and a half seasons.
This season, Sanchez is 16th in passer rating among active quarterbacks with 83.0. Without a miraculous circus win against the Cowboys on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 this year, the Jets would be a mere 3-4, including wins against the deplorable Dolphins and Jaguars.
Why is the Jets' record so unimpressive this season as opposed to the last two?
Sanchez has improved very little in his two and half years as a starting quarterback, and his lack of support in the run game this season is spotlighting that lack of significant progress.
In his first two seasons, when the Jets made two consecutive AFC Championship games, Sanchez had behind him the first and fourth best rushing attacks in the league. This season, the Jets are 28th in rushing offense.
Sanchez also had a top five defense on his side in his first two seasons.
Some may say it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have the numbers because he wins football games. A more accurate statement would be to say that Sanchez is good at not losing games.
From day one as a Jet, his job has been to not lose the game for his team, to not make mistakes.
In my opinion, the Jets have held his hand too much. He wasn’t fed to the wolves enough in his first two seasons and because of that, throughout his career when the time comes for him to be cut loose and win the game, he hasn't developed enough of a killer mentality to be able to go for the throat.
In his third season, Sanchez is still lethargic in his decision-making, and if teams are able to get pressure on him, he is easily rattled.
His ability to scramble and make something happen is admirable, but until he can get the ball out of his hands quickly, he won’t make the leap to elite quarterback status.