Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Different Take on Mark Sanchez

Haven't been many reasons to smile lately for Sanchez

Something occurred to me while I was watching Monday Night Football with the Jets and Titans. Mark Sanchez isn’t a good quarterback (shockingly deep, right?).  Jake Locker is similarly an ineffective signal-caller. Sanchez is in his fourth year; Locker, his second.  Yet when the announcers spoke of them, they did so as if they were talking about finished products.

In the wake of a sterling crop of young, talented quarterbacks a new philosophy regarding the position has formed.  Formerly, quarterbacks would get drafted and immediately sit behind a more experienced player in order to learn the plays and the subtleties involved in successfully making the transition to the professional ranks of sports’ most difficult position.  It was commonplace for even the most talented guys to take their time making the ascension. Joe Montana, Len Dawson, and Roger Staubach all sat more games than they started their first two years in the League.  Those players have something else in common; they all have a bust in Canton, OH at the NFL Football Hall of Fame.

Sanchez was never given the chance to sit; after being taken in the 2009 draft, he was thrust into the starting lineup. Indeed, compare his first two years to that of Montana’s replacement, Steve Young (take a look at the postgame breakdown of the Jets QB situation that Young and Trent Dilfer did). Young threw 11 TDs and 21 INTs and had a completion percentage of 53% (Sanchez threw 29 TDs and 33 INTs with a 54% completion percentage).  More telling than raw numbers (because of the proliferation of passing in the NFL, QBs now will naturally have more yards, attempts, and touchdowns), are the percentages of their throws that resulted in scores and turnovers.  2.2 % of Young’s passes were Touchdowns and 4.2% of them were Interceptions.  Sanchez’s numbers were 3.3% and 3.8% respectively. 

Now clearly I am not suggesting Sanchez will be Steve Young, but the environment is completely different.  Instead of getting traded and learning under Montana for several seasons, Sanchez (after seven game-winning drives and AFC championship appearances) had his weapons depleted year after year and only had Mark Brunell as veteran QB leadership for the majority of his career. 
Sanchez’s 2013 Cap number is $9.1 Million from previously unamortized charges, plus $8.25Million in salary.  All totaled, his cap impact will be over $17Million for the franchise; despite that, there have been multiple pundits calling for his release.  Additionally, since the Monday Night Meltdown on National TV Sanchez has been demoted and Greg McElroy (who led a game-winning drive in week 13) was activated and will start.

Perhaps the talent isn’t the problem, perhaps he has been mismanaged. It might be best for both parties if he isn’t with the team next year.  A trade would benefit both teams, so the Jets could get something tangible out of the deal, but with his poor showing I think it’d be difficult for a team to part with anything in return for Sanchez. 

How do you think the rest of Sanchez’s career will pan out?

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