Rolle Sheds Light on the Sanchez Problem

Corey Griffin ,

He may be an outsider, but to Giants cornerback Antrell Rolle, there’s only one answer to the Jets’ quarterback conundrum: Mark Sanchez.

Speaking at a promotional appearance for MasterCard and Chase on Tuesday, Rolle says Sanchez’s skill set and history sets him apart from Tim Tebow, the current choice of the panicked populus.

But there’s a rather large caveat in Rolle’s thinking.

“I think Sanchez is a more prototypical type of quarterback. Tebow, you know, I think he has a lotta heart, lotta determination, (he’s) a lot-of-fire guy, but you know, I’ve never played with the guy to say what he can and cannot do,” Rolle said. “I’ve seen Mark Sanchez. I’ve seen him take them to the title game two years in a row and the talent doesn’t leave the body that quickly. He can do it. He just needs a lot of help around him.”

The last part of Rolle’s quote is all you need to know. Yes, Sanchez can be successful — if you give him time, weapons and a solid running game. Except only four weeks into the season, he has one plus performance compared to three negatives in a make-or-break season. Add in that Sanchez likely won’t have Santonio Holmes for the rest of the season and that Dustin Keller will have to deal with a nagging hamstring injury all season long and you have the makings of a long season for No. 6.

Brian Bassett pointed out earlier in the week that there are quarterbacks that are doing more with less, but Jets fans have seen for three years that Sanchez is not one of those quarterbacks. He needs, like Rolle points out, a lot of help around him. Yet, over the past two seasons, general manager Mike Tannenbaum either stripped Sanchez of his reliable targets (Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery) or left him to better/tutor an inexperienced bunch while also learning a new offense.

When it comes to NFL players, I’m a firm believer in the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture argument. You don’t make it to the NFL without the talent to be successful, but with most players, it takes patience, time and support to nurture them into winners (see: Alex Smith and Victor Cruz).

Mark Sanchez may never turn out to be the quarterback some thought he could be after his first two seasons, but at least part of that is because the Jets never really gave him a chance to be successful.