For this first couple of years of his career, the defense he had was enough to give Mark Sanchez a pass in New York. Going to consecutive conference championship games in spite of his mediocre play was evidence of that.
It’s hard to get angry at the quarterback when his record is 19-12 and just missing two Super Bowl appearances. Even in a tough place like New York, the fans expect results and if they get them, they’ll let you slide on a knucklehead throw here and there. But it appears that the jeers got to be too loud for Rex Ryan yesterday as he finally pulled the plug.
I missed that Tim Tebow wasn’t active for this game, so when I first saw that Sanchez had been pulled due to ineffective play, my first thought was that sports news was going to be unwatchable and unlistenable for the next week. No, he was replaced by former Roll Tide star Greg McElroy who, of course, led them to a tough victory against the Cardinals in front of the home crowd.
Now, before we get into the great debate about whether McElroy won the job yesterday or if Tim Tebow will be lining up under center next week, the part we do know is that Rex Ryan finally seems to have faced reality with his original starter. Regardless of how bad Sanchez has been over the past two seasons, he’s always said that Sanchez was his guy and he was sticking with him, win or lose.
When something like this happens, it’s hard to say if it’s totally a coaching decision or if he got a call from Woody Johnson upstairs who said it was time to make the change. Most owners don’t meddle and there ins’t a long history of Johnson doing so, but if Ryan is facing the hot seat, he might be open to persuasion a little more than usual.
I keep going back to something that Pete Carroll, who coached Sanchez at USC, said when he declared for the NFL Draft. He said that he wasn’t ready to play at the next level yet. Sanchez saw the opportunity with it being a weak field for quarterbacks and he seized the opportunity; no one can blame him for that. But here we are just over four years later and it looks more and more clear that Carroll was correct.
Leaving college as early as he did might have been the best choice financially, but in hindsight, it was likely the wrong move for longevity. And with the Jets giving him an extension before the beginning of the season, one has to wonder just what the future indeed holds for Sanchez at this level.
When guys like David Carr, who really just cannot play NFL football, get to stick around this league as a back up forever, then a guy like Sanchez will always have a job if he wants one. But to think his career may be over like some of the talking heads are suggesting this morning, well that’s jumping the gun quite a bit.
The biggest problem was that the Jets organization set him up to fail. They named him the starter from day one and had zero competition behind him. Things came out of the locker room about how this effected his will and desire to put in the necessary work to get things done and become a better player. Instead, he embraced the New York lifestyle and the bigger story became who he was dating and what magazine cover he’d be on next.
This could be the wake up call that Sanchez needed to get his career back on track and it could be the beginning of the end. Regardless of what happens, I think a change of scenery could be about the best case scenario for the guy. He’s only 26 years old and has plenty of talent. The question will be if anyone knows how to tap into said talent.
Filed under: New York Jets