The Mark Sanchez Effect on the New York Jets Offense
On January 2nd, 2009 Mark Sanchez played the game of his life . Leading the USC Trojans to a 38 – 24 victory against the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Rose Bowl. Mark completed 28 of 35 passes for 413 yards and 4Td’s. This great game capped off a terrific season for both Mark and the Trojans. Sanchez was a virtual unknown going into that season having never playing a full season at QB in college before that year. Yet in spite of his unknown name he posted 34 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards passing. Clearly by those numbers Sanchez was primed for a leap to the NFL. Oddly enough when Sanchez confirmed his intentions to move on the big leagues even his own coach Pete Carroll came out publicly to warn Mark to not go. Warning Sanchez that most quarterbacks that have as little starting experience as Mark tend to fail at the next level. Never the less Marc had made his decision and move on in spite of his coaches warning.
On the other side of the country at this same time in the pro football New York Jets were going through changes as well. First they made a controversial move in firing head coach Eric Mangini. Then not keeping their top wide receiver in Lavernious Coles and finally the retirement(for now) of Brett Favre. They were however smart to not grant Brett the right to become a free agent should he decide to come back as he is known to do. To top it off they even lost there offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye to the San Francisco 49ers. Too combat these losses they promoted Brian Schottenheimer (son of Marty Schottenheimer) to offensive coordinator. Then signed Baltimore Ravens Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan (son of Buddy Ryan) to be the teams new head coach. But they didn’t sign any key wide receivers in free agency nor quarterbacks. These pieces would be left to the draft in April.
Some would say that Mark Sanchez was erratic and didn’t wow people at the NFL combine, but as the evaluation process wore on the Sanchez hype train was getting bigger. Personally I will admit to not thinking much of Sanchez for I believed Pete Carroll was correct in his warnings to Mark about leaving too soon. I just didn’t think this kid would be successful. Truth be told I really don’t care much for the analysts that keep talking about a guys 40 time or his “big arm.” I care about what that player does on the field and with quarterbacks if they had more than one big year in college. In spite of this when I finally sat down to look at Sanchez’s film I was impressed but his decision making and foot work to name a few. It’s good to have some mobility as a QB and not be a sitting duck.
As much as Sanchez impressed me he was still looking to go as a top 5 pick which basically means he would have no support around him. This is probably the biggest death blow to a young quarterback coming out and playing right away. When draft day came the Jets moved up from pick #17 to #5 and drafted Mark as their franchise quarterback. Mark came out on record as saying this was the best situation he could have hoped for and I believe he is correct in saying that. If for nothing else then the first class offensive line the Jets have. Playing behind those hogs will greatly enhance any quarterbacks chances for success. Although he did lose Coles he still has wide receiver Jericho Cotchery and budding star Tight End Dustin Keller. Not to also add a great running game with Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and third round draft pick Shonn Greene.
Once the draft was over the Jets officially released Brett Favre and gave him the right to sign were ever he pleased. Many believe Brett will go to the Minnesota Vikings but at least for now Brett remains retired. As for Sanchez and the Jets out look in 2009 from and NFL stand point I believe they will finish second or third in the division. It’s not that they aren’t a good team it’s the division they play in. For one Tom Brady is back with the Patriots and two the Big Tuna is still pulling the stings in Miami for the Dolphins. While I do believe the Buffalo Bills will finish dead last in the AFC East they are no push over in their own right. Right now the Jets are in transition weather they want to admit it or not. Many fans in New York don’t want to hear that because they feel the Jets are ready to win right now. Bottom line is that it takes rookie QB’s a year or two to figure out the league and Mark will be no different. Sure they can mask his learning curve with a great running game and great defense but it’s hard to out play the likes of Tom Brady and Randy Moss together.
From a fantasy football perspective
I believe the Jets best value this season will be in their Defense and probably their tight end Dustin Keller. True the Jets will have a great running game this year but it will be split up in to three runners. Thomas Jones will run mostly between the 20’s and Leon will be the third and long man. Shonn Greene will take goal line duty’s thus killing Jone’s chances for another 15 touchdown season. Young quarterbacks tend to look to their big tight end for support when moving the ball and around the end zone. Both Mark Sanchez and his competition quarterback Kellen Clemens are both young. Thus Keller is going to be favored no matter whom is under center. With a conservative offense moving the ball and eating the clock the Jets defense will stay rested and will no doubt play aggressive under new coach Rex Ryan. All and all I believe Mark Sanchez will be a very good quarterback but the Jets would have been smart to hold on to Brett Favre and hope he came back to them if they wanted any chance of a AFC East title this year. Then again a Chiefs or maybe even Jets defensive player could “accidentally” fall on Tom Brady knee again.
Written By: Sean Douglas- fantasy-info.com
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