Over the past four seasons, there has been one common denominator when the Jets’ offense plays like it did on Sunday: Mark Sanchez.
Mark Sanchez has been an inconsistent roller-coaster of a quarterback since coming into the NFL, and if you were to compare game tape from his rookie year to this year, you wouldn’t see much of a difference.
Ill-advised passes and rushed throws.
Overthrown, underthrown, and just plain off-target balls.
Lack of chemistry with wide receivers and negative body language.
Poor decision-making and an inability to execute, whether throwing a deep ball or a simple screen.
These are some of the phrases that have been repeated over and over again when analyzing Mark Sanchez’s play. It was assumed that as he developed and as he gained experience, we would hear less and less of these phrases, but unfortunately, that development has been seemingly nonexistent. Sure, the Mark Sanchez that threw five interceptions in a game against the Bills during his rookie year is long gone, but where is the Mark Sanchez that had the game of his life on opening day against the Bills?
If you watched any of the Jets-49ers game on Sunday afternoon, you would have realized that the Mark Sanchez of opening day has pulled a disappearing act. When the pressure is on and an above-average defense is on the other side of the line of scrimmage, the good Mark Sanchez is nowhere to be seen. He misses open wide receivers and he crumbles when there’s any pressure on the pocket. And in a winnable game at home today, he seemingly tried his very hardest to hand the win to the 49ers.
In a game as ugly as today’s, the numbers don’t usually tell the whole story, they really can’t get much worse than this: Sanchez was 13 for 29 with 103 yards and one interception, which came on a screen pass. Yes, a screen pass. Sanchez also lost a fumble, his sixth turnover in just four games. His completion percentage of 44.8 percent will lower his league-worst mark of 50.5 percent to 49.2 percent. It’s been an ugly start to Sanchez’s fourth season, and patience is running short amongst Jets fans, who rained down “Tebow” chants throughout the game.
I never thought that it would come to this point when the Jets first traded for Tim Tebow, but the fans are right. It isn’t fair to them for a team to put a product like this on the field every single week, and the reason that the product is lacking all comes back to the play of Mark Sanchez. It’s time for a change. It’s time for a spark. And that spark needs to come in the form of a not-so-prototypical quarterback from Florida. Yes, that’s right, I’m talking about Tebow.
Now before you tell me that it isn’t all Sanchez’s fault, I’ll tell you that you’re right. His weapons on the receiving corps are lacking. His offensive line is a shell of what it was three years ago, as is the run game, which used to take a lot of pressure off of him when it was the best in the league his rookie year. He doesn’t have as good of a defense to rely on as he has in the past. All that I’m trying to say is that the team could really use a spark, and their best bet at waking up this anemic unit is a change at the heart of the offense, the quarterback position.
Tebow might not have the prettiest throwing motion in the world. He might not the best mobile quarterback in the league. But he’s something different, and he proved last year that he’s capable of winning football games. He’s an exciting player and he plays better under pressure, as opposed to Sanchez who only plays his best football when he’s sitting on a comfortable lead and getting great protection from his line. After four weeks of generally inadequate play from Mark Sanchez, it’s looking more and more like it’s Tebow Time.
Perhaps it won’t happen this week, but if the Jets lose at home this coming Monday night against the Texans, the possibility of a quarterback switch is going to become very real. What was once a media-driven, nonexistent quarterback controversy is coming to life right before all of our eyes.
Thoughts? Questions? You can find me on Twitter at @theZachBerger or you can leave a comment below.
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“Now before you tell me that it isn’t all Sanchez’s fault, I’ll tell you that **YOU’RE** right.”
Otherwise, it is definitely Tebow time…