Jets Continue to have Quarterback Questions: Is Sanchez the Answer?
Added by Justin O'Connell on May 21, 2012.
This could be a make or break season for Mark Sanchez.
No NFL team has ever won, or really attempted to win, with a two quarterback system. New York Jets head coach, Rex Ryan, claims backup quarterback, Tim Tebow, will be given 15-20 plays a game, but what most do not realize is that special teams will be included in those plays.
Tebow will be used in punt protection and the Jets led the NFL in punts last season, so a large number of his plays will come there. This is why their offense should not be considered a “two quarterback system.” Mark Sanchez will receive the majority of the snaps; Tebow will be used in the wildcat for a few plays a game.
Many feel that the Jets organization wants Sanchez to fail, so that Tebow can inherit the starting position. What people should understand is that the Jets have 20.5 million reasons to want their young quarterback to succeed.
Sanchez is due $20.5 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. He was also chosen by both Ryan and general manager, Mike Tannenbaum, to lead the Jets to the promise land. So, they would be ecstatic if Sanchez could turn it around and become the unanimous decision to lead the team. For now, Sanchez will start the season and Tebow will be the backup who plays various roles for the team.
“He’s [Tim Tebow] a backup quarterback first and then he’ll continue to do plenty of other stuff,” said Sanchez on Tebow.
Sanchez’s progress has not been promising, as he continues to scare both management and players for a number of reasons. Last season, Sanchez had 18 interceptions, a completion percentage of 56.7, and a passer rating of 78.2. He has thrown a total of 51 interceptions over his first three seasons, which is the most in the league, and has also fumbled the ball 29 times, including 10 last season. These issues continue to be a major concern for the Jets, and rightfully so. Questions about Sanchez’s leadership and mental toughness have constantly been brought up, too.
Anonymous players on the Jets this offseason were quoted in saying, “Sanchez is not a leader and is not mentally tough.[...] He gets rattled when the pressures on him and the organization has babied him throughout his career.”
So, did the Jets overpay for Sanchez when they resigned him? Probably. But, because of it, they have to stick with him unless he continues to digress. With Tebow lurking, Sanchez is going to feel more pressure than ever and this season will mostly likely decide if he can be a successful NFL quarterback or end up as another first round bust.
Sanchez claims not to be bothered by Tebow being brought in and said:
“You compete against yourself everyday that’s for sure, and whoever the other quarterbacks were, whether it was Mark Brunell last year or it happens to be Tim [Tebow] now. You’re always going to have other quarterbacks in the room and it’s your job to push each other. He’s been a great addition for us and he’s been fun to work with.”
In the midst of all the Sanchez-Tebow talk, the forgotten man, Greg Mcelroy, is coming back from injury this season to compete for the 3rd string and possibly the backup position. Mcelroy was hurt in the preseason after impressing coaches and fans with his play over the first three exhibition games. He threw for 312 yards, 2 touchdowns, had zero interceptions, and an 87.9 passer rating. He had, arguably, the best preseason out of all his rookie quarterback counterparts.