Posted December 05, 2012

Mark Sanchez keeps his job, thanks to the Jets’ past mistakes

New York Jets
Mark Sanchez (left) was replaced by Greg McElroy in last Sunday's win against the Cardinals. (CSM /Landov)

Mark Sanchez (right) was replaced by Greg McElroy in last Sunday’s win against the Cardinals. (CSM /Landov)

The mistake that the New York Jets made did not necessarily come Wednesday, when Rex Ryan announced that Mark Sanchez would be his starting quarterback again in Week 14. The real error occurred, as just about everyone speculated then and has continued to point out since, back in March, when the franchise handed Sanchez a contract extension with $58 million-plus over five years and $20 million in guarantees.

Now everyone tries to act surprised when Sanchez holds off Captain Sideshow, Tim Tebow, or when the Jets opt for Sanchez over Greg McElroy, despite the latter’s relief win in Week 13.

But this situation is what it is. The Jets believed in March that Sanchez was their QB of the present and future. Financially, they’re stuck with that approach, even as another season slips away.

We’re free to ponder, of course, what exactly the Jets saw in Sanchez that the rest of us did not when they placed that extension on the table. Sanchez had his best season, statistically, in 2011, but it was more of a slow climb from his past years than a major breakthrough — a 78.2 QB rating in 2011, compared to 75.3 the season prior; a 56.7 percent completion rate vs. 54.8 in 2010. The one big number trending in Sanchez’s favor was his touchdown passes, from 12 in his rookie season to 17 in 2010 and up to 26 last season. But his interceptions also rose from ’10 to ’11 (13 to 18), and the Jets dropped from an 11-5 playoff team in 2010 to an 8-8 disappointment in 2011.

Is there enough in there, if you pick through everything Sanchez did, to find the positive omens, to justify the money promised him?

The Jets believed so.

For better or worse (mostly worse), that means they have continued to give Sanchez opportunities this season, even after adding Tebow … for whatever reason. The decision to bring in Tebow has backfired at every turn, too — from placing extra pressure on Sanchez to further handcuffing the team’s financial situation to riling up the fan base.

With Tebow relegated to punt-protection duties and, last Sunday, scratched from the active roster, McElroy became the fans’ new favorite son. He added fuel to the fire by throwing the winning touchdown pass in a victory over the Cardinals. Maybe he’s a superstar in hiding. Or maybe there were ample reasons that he slid to pick No. 208 overall in last year’s draft.

Jets fans would love to find out which is true, but that’s not how this team operates. Or, rather, it’s not how this team is able to operate right now, with more than $10 million committed to its QB position for next season.

True, franchises throw in the towel on bad deals more frequently than they should in the NFL. And it’s certainly in the realm of possibilities that Sanchez flops again early in Jacksonville Sunday, and Ryan tosses McElroy back into the mix.

The Sanchez deal, though, is basically the move that Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum hung their hats on last offseason. If it fails, if Sanchez fails, then they unequivocally fail.

Some might argue that they already have; that continuing to start Sanchez is like the band playing on as the Titanic sank. Financially, however, this is the corner the Jets have painted themselves into. It is a spot that does not leave a lot of room for common football sense — not that the Jets have shown a lot of that recently anyway.

24 comments
Bruces1g
Bruces1g

I am not a big NFL fan - I prefer college football - and I think many are selling GMac short. He is a smart player, not prone to stupid mistakes, and unlike Sanchez, a hard worker. And a winner. A gutsy player.  He was the heart and soul of the Alabama championship team and the glue that held the team together during a disappointing senior season.

 

I think if the Jets give him a chance he will be a winner there as well. He certainly can't be any worse than the two alternatives!

Dana2
Dana2

The whole Tebow circus proves the Jets organization is a bunch of clueless clowns.

 

Mistake or not, at least Denver had the cojones to actually tweak their offense and PLAY Tebow, win some games and sell some tickets.  How can a "major market" team be such morons?

 

Play Tebow or trade him to Jacksonville, fer' chrissake!

 

 

RobertSellers
RobertSellers

Once again stupid logic.  They are actually getting less value for their money by playing Sanchez if there is a better player on their bench.  Why?  Because they aren't getting value for Sanchez and they aren't getting value for Tebow or McElroy either.  However, if Tebow or McElroy gives them a better opportunity to win then they can not get value from Sanchez, as they aren't now, and get value from either Tebow or McElroy.

 

Just because you're paying someone a lot of money is a damn stupid reason to play the person.  That's how coaches and GM's get fired. 

JamesMartin
JamesMartin like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @RobertSellers I agree, Eat the money and send Sanchez packing. 

Tim Tebow, while unconventional is an entertaining brand of football.

I only hope they trade Tim to a team like Jacksonville where he should have gone

and give fans what they want.

RobertSellers
RobertSellers

 @JamesMartin And read option works.  But Ryan will die before he lines up 3-4 wide from the gun every down. 

stabmasterarson21
stabmasterarson21

Sanchez was a wasted pick and a bust!  Tannenbaum and Ryan should both get canned for signing Dirty Sanchez to that extension.  Total and complete #FAIL!

Jose Margarita
Jose Margarita like.author.displayName 1 Like

Mark Sanchez is a bad QB, plain and simple.  He will never ever win the big one, and the Jets were a good squad when he got them in the playoffs.  Signing him to extention was a mistake.  Signing Tebow was a mistake.  Not starting Tebow at the start of the season was a mistake.  Not starting Tebow after Mark looked terrible through week 6 was a mistake.  Starting Sanchez this week, was a a mistake.  Having Rex Ryan change his diet from twinkie's, and Coke, now that was a good idea.

Daniel21
Daniel21

 @Jose Margarita he got lap-bad surgery, his stomach has a plastic belt around it.  He didn't lose the weight himself. 

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

With the lack of talent the Jets have on offense does it really matter who the QB is?

P-Newman
P-Newman

Many classless players, a classless coach ... a classless organization. Feel bad for Jet Fans ... they deserve better.

pickle
pickle

 @P-Newman I'm a Jets fan, and while I do agree there are classless players, and the front office is beyond terrible, I still think Rex is a talented defensive mind. Sure, he talks to much, and is probably more suited to being a D coordinator than a head coach. But you have to understand that he took the team to two AFC championships in his first 2 seasons, both years in which the defense was top 3 in the league. Before that was a whole decade of agony, ending with the brett favre year where they went 8-3 and then lost the last 5 games. So as Jets fan, Rex's first 2 years will always be great memories to me, even if he never approaches anything like that again.

rchaa27aa
rchaa27aa like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Boy, it's doesn't  take much to make you happy.

RickCheyne
RickCheyne like.author.displayName 1 Like

Seems I recall someone named Brady that was drafted like 200+. I think he turned out ok

JackWilliams
JackWilliams

 @RickCheyne

 Had the Pats not won 3 SBs ( um....tainted SBs) at the beginning of his career, Brady's career might have taken a much different trajectory. Since the Belicheat fiasco, the Pats have choked in the playoffs when they got there. There has been no clutch Brady magic since 2005, yet the east coast media still celebrates him as the next Joe Montana.   

followerofmen
followerofmen

 @JackWilliams  @RickCheyne Are you genuinely planning to act like Brady wasn't one of the biggest steals in NFL history? Regardless of how you feel about the SBs, those are on record as NE wins plus the man has 2 league MVPs, 10 division titles, and the 2nd ever undefeated regular season to his credit. Let's be reasonable, please. 

pljaye
pljaye

 @RickCheyne

 Yeah, but the overwhelming majority of players picked that low never even sniff a regular season game. Brady was a rarity, and just because he happened to pan out is hardly a guantee that history will repeat itself.

 

On the other hand, the Jets have a known commodity who has a winning career record, took over as the starting qb for a 1-4 team and led that team to a division title and a playoff victory over the Steelers, has a higher career passer rating than Sanchez, has a lower interception rate than Sanchez, has rushed for hundreds of more yards in his short career than Sanchez and even beat Sanchez and the Jets last year on a 95-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Even Tebow's skeptics must admit that he's a far better choice than Sanchez, especially after the back-to-back debacles that the Jets have experienced. It seems that Ryan is just begging to be fired by continuing to start Sanchez--I hope the Jets oblige.

blah77
blah77

 @pljaye  @RickCheyne Tebow is now a known commodity after not even one full season? About the only thing every NFL team knows about him is that he is not a starting caliber QB. Everyone who has actually played with him has said as much. He is far from accurate, he holds the ball way too long, his throwing mechanic is awful and his decision making skills is questionable at best, particularly when under pressure. Frankly, Tebow should just be converted to fullback and be done with it. With that said, stop painting him out to be some football Jesus who single handedly saved the Broncos last year because that is extremely far from the truth. Last years Broncos is not this years Jets. Broncos had a stout defense and McGahee chewing up carries/yardage. Jets have a mediocre defense and Greene, who would be a backup on most NFL teams. If you Tebow fans think that he didn't have enough weapons or a strong enough O-line in Denver, maybe the Jets should start him in so you all can witness just how much worse it can get.

RobertSellers
RobertSellers

 @blah77  @pljaye  @RickCheyne Tebow doesn't turn the ball over.  A 40% passer that doesn't throw INT's or fumble the football would be an improvement for the Jets. 

P-Newman
P-Newman

 @RickCheyne

 Dude, really ... you're assuming McElroy is the next Tom Brady. Good luck with that.

nyjets011269
nyjets011269 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @P-Newman  @RickCheyne Never know unless you give him a legitimate chance.

RickCheyne
RickCheyne

 @nyjets011269  @P-Newman  @RickCheyne The dude is a Rhode scholar man. When he comes to the line once he sees a defense he will not forget it. I really see him not as having a great arm but changing the play into a success at the line.....

funtasticus
funtasticus

I think the real error is the personnel choices made by Tanny before this season.  They have lost Leon Washington, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith, Damien Woody, Alan Faneca, Jerricho Cotchery, LT, Thomas Jones, Tony Richardson, Plaxico Burress and who have the replaced them with that was an improvement?  They were #1 in the red zone last season with Sanchez throwing the ball - accounting for 32 total touchdowns (a Jet record).  Instead of building around a QB that is drafted that high in the draft like every team has done - Atlanta brought in Julios Jones to complement Roddy White, the Ravens picked up Boldin, the Giants have always surrounded Eli with weapons, the Pats with Randy Moss, Welker, big tight ends....the Jets drafte defense every year since he was picked.

So is the failure Sanchez or management building a team and hiring Sporano when he has no business being on OC in the NFL?

pickle
pickle

 @funtasticus I agree 100%. Whoever is making the personnel decisions should be in another profession entirely. Although I should point out that LT and Tony Richardson retired, and Alan Faneca wanted a lot of money when he was pretty old, he played one final season in Arizona then retired. But I'll never understand the decisions to get rid of Edwards, Washingon, Cotchery (who I still think is far more reliable than Holmes), and Thomas Jones (who was also getting old but was the heart and soul of the offense). 

 

So far the two first round picks of the last two years (Wilkerson and Coples) seem to still have promise and don't seem like busts. But its the simple fact that they actually traded a draft pick to get Tebow that proves that whoever is making these decisions knows absolutely nothing about football. I mean, there are many WIDE RECEIVERS in the NFL who can throw a better spiral than that guy.