Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com
Everything in the last 10 days seems like a microcosm of a macrocosm of a microcosm with Mark Sanchez.
After throwing a horrible pick to start the game against the Lions, Mark Sanchez must have taken a forget-me-now and went right back out on the field and marshaled some solid drives. Then after it’s learned that Geno Smith was injured and had a tough week of practice because of it, Sanchez gets the shot to start his second game in a row against a much worse Jacksonville Jaguars team.
This was supposed to be it. This was supposed to be the moment for Sanchez to figuratively step on the neck of his competition and all of his detractors and prove why he should be the starter for this team for the foreseeable future, setting off a torrid run in which his career was redeemed.
But what did Sanchez do? He Sanchezed it.
Not only did Sanchez throw a bad interception in the end zone to Marcus Trufant to take seven points off the board for his own team, he frittered away another incredible red zone opportunity after a muffed punt right before the half with poor field vision on three downs (four plays) and he did it from the three yard line.
The first came when on first down where he scrambled to the left side of the field and had *both* Bilal Powell open on the far sideline with a swing pass as well as Clyde Gates standing in front of him in the back of in the end zone with insufficient coverage, as his defender came up to help against Powell. Instead, Sanchez blindly tried to run it in and a defender who was (obviously) not in his vision popped around the defensive line and stopped him cold while Powell looked bewildered and Gates stomped up and down in the end zone.
On second down, after both teams scuffled, Sanchez tried to force the pass too early on a designed sprintout and ended up not allowing Jeremy Kerely even enough time to get his head around to catch the pass. Sanchez had his man and a tightly thrown pass to Kerley is a touchdown. Instead Sanchez throws it down and away from Kerley which was of course out of the end zone and Kerley, already reacting late, can’t make the diving catch for what wouldn’t have even have been a touchdown anyway.
Similarly, third down was another rush job. With ten seconds left on the play clock, Sanchez forced a pass into heavy coverage to Stephen Hill for another incompletion and an illegal shift to boot. Now penalized and with just six seconds left after starting on the three yard line, Marty seemingly gave up on Sanchez.
The play call was a max protect type of play (eight players initially stayed in to block) and there were not enough targets against the number of black shirts on the end zone to make anything legitimate happen and Sanchez threw the ball away after time expired to a rain of boos.
Sanchez might have padded his stats in the second half against a bad second team defense, but he still had a QB rating in the 70s and we have to imagine that his chance to pull away from this Jets quarterback competition has fizzled. Now, Sanchez is right back where he was before the Detroit game, or maybe even in a worse spot because many can see there’s never going to be enough good with the bad.
There’s just no redeeming this player, at least in New York, and the sooner the Jets realize this, the better off they will be.
What we can’t understand is why Ryan refuses to call his quarterback out. We get that he’s focused on defense, but Mark Sanchez had a bad night against a bad team. If he’s going to roll over on other players, what is so mystical about Mark Sanchez in particular that he won’t say boo? Yes, as of now he’s “the” quarterback on the team, but Ryan’s refusal to address Sanchez’s play head-on is troubling.
Mark Sanchez, spouted his typical “we’ll clean that up” rhetoric for the media after the game.
What won’t happen again, Mark? You won’t squander a perfect opportunity to hang a crooked number on the scoreboard in the 2013 preseason against the Jaguars?
If only every Jets game was played in Wine Country, where Mark Sanchez is the ultimate closer. But alas, this is not the Catalina Wine Mixer Cup, and over the last two plus years Sanchez has simply been unable to take advantage of most NFL defenses.
There’s still one game left that has impact who will start for the Jets in Week One of the regular season. We have to imagine that the Jets are going to give Geno Smith extended time next week and the team will do their best to get a true sense of whether or not he’s capable of carrying this offense from the start. Despite Sanchez’s terribleness, he still seems to be in the lead, by default.
We know what Mark Sanchez will be for the Jets and that it is never going to be enough. What we don’t know is how quickly the Jets can pass the offense to Geno Smith and do so prudently?