Tuck: NY Jets QB Mark Sanchez Not To Blame

I think its fair to say Jets coach Rex Ryan set himself up for days like these.  If he is going to talk and talk and talk, his players will follow suit.  And like his blabber not always being the team’s best interest, neither is his players.

Mark Sanchez enjoyed quite the introduction to the NFL.  The rookie quarterback came in and had the Jets playing for the AFC Title in his first two seasons.  There were some stumbles along the way, but he came up big and won playoff games.  Road playoff games.

The team fell short ultimately the last two seasons, and fans and media pointed at Sanchez and speculated if he was good enough to lead New York to a Super Bowl.  Those were the good times.  Just the fans and media questioning him.  Now he has his own teammates ripping him.

“He thinks he is [improving], but he’s not,” said one player. “He has shown us what he’s capable of.”

I’ll be the first to say I have no idea how hard Sanchez works or doesn’t work.  I am not there.  For what it is worth, his owner, Woody Johnson, has already come to his defense.

“I’ve never heard that,” Johnson said on MSNBC Thursday. “(Sanchez) is the first guy in the building every morning and the last guy to leave. So, the last thing he is is lazy. … He’s an NFL quarterback. That’s what you expect from an NFL quarterback. … I think everybody is a little frustrated.”

I DO NOT KNOW IF MARK SANCHEZ CAN WIN A SUPER BOWL.  I think he can when surrounded by the right people in the right system.  He is NOT a stiff.  He has talent.  And he has gotten better.

The numbers show his improvement.

Year Team G Comp Att % Yds Y/G Y/A 300+ TD Int Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD 100+ Lost
2009 NYJ 15 196 363 54.0 2444 162.9 6.7 0 12 20 36 106 7.1 2.9 3 0 3
2010 NYJ 16 278 507 54.8 3291 205.7 6.5 2 17 13 30 105 6.6 3.5 3 0 1
2011 NYJ 16 308 543 56.7 3474 217.1 6.4 3 26 18 37 103 6.4 2.8 6 0 8

Clearly he is not an elite passer.  He isn’t going to put his team on his back like a Brady, Rodgers, Manning, or Brees.  But an honest Jets fan would look at his performances in the playoffs and recognize he wasn’t the reason the Jets lost to the Colts or Steelers in the AFC Title Games.  NY’s defense let it down in both games.

In last year’s playoff games Sanchez had a 95 QB rating, completing 60% of his passes, with 5 TD and 1 INT.

The year previous he had a 92.7 QB rating, completing 60% of his passes with 4 TD and 2 INT.

Basically, I am telling you he rose to the occasion.  The Jets running game and defense failed them in critical moments.  Their coach did as well.

The NY Jets have some big problems right now.  I just don’t think Sanchez is one of them.  The all bark, and less bite defense is forcing him to do more, and he may not be capable.  But mediocre defenses with average (or better?) quarterbacks don’t win Super Bowls.

Players talking about Peyton Manning coming to save them are simply admitting their defense isn’t good enough either.