It’s hard to get much in the way of controversial statements out of Curtis Martin, so when he talked to ESPN NY late last week about the Jets and Mark Sanchez, it’s fair to take note.
“I’m just going to be frank: Mark has to play better,” Martin told ESPNNewYork.com after taping a “CenterStage” interview in Manhattan for the YES Network. “If he doesn’t play better, I think it will be very, very difficult for them to have a good year.”
Asked if Sanchez can play better, Martin paused a moment.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, it’s been three or four years and it hasn’t happened yet. He did well his first two years; they went to the AFC Championship Game. He did what was necessary, but I think it’s a different team and a different time, so I think his level of play has to go to another level.
“Do I think he has the God-given ability? Yes. I think putting it together and taking it to the field, that’s what is necessary right now.”
Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comIt’s certainly shocking to hear Martin say it, but I don’t think he was wrong for doing so. In contrast to what Martin said, Pete Carroll stated a few weeks ago that the Jets need to get better around Mark Sanchez. It’s fair to say that the level of talent has eroded since 2010, but as Martin points out, it’s up to Sanchez to bridge that gap, and according to Martin he doesn’t know whether Sanchez can.
There’s no doubt that the Jets need to have more offensive talent to be a viable contender, but what is the point of, say, getting better, stronger and quicker receivers in the draft if Sanchez can’t hold to some basic quarterbacking principles? If Sanchez can’t do some simple things like progress through reads, be decisive in the pocket or anticipate his receivers, then does the other stuff matter? No, and I think that’s part of Martin’s point. All indications are that Mark Sanchez takes his role seriously and works hard during and after the season to put his best foot forward when it comes time to in games,