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Saturday, February 11, 2012

NY Jets #6 - Part 2 (cont'd)

We are in the process of updating all previously discussed numbers up to 61. We are also revising some of the previous entries themselves, making them, we hope, more palatable. More readable. Less unreadable.

How things change. Only last year, I was bemoaning the moral lapses in Mark Sanchez #6 when he was associating with a 17 year-old, either romantically or socially. Now I see that my rather heavy-handed lecture from a year ago was not even worth the time reading. Now I seem to have found more important considerations - that he is not a great quarterback and, quite possibly, not even a good one.

Jets fans have been debating internally and externally about the possibility of picking up yet another over-the-hill quarterback like Peyton Manning ever since the season ended, and it's absurd. Nothing good comes from bringing old veterans to our team, and I'm certain that Manning is not considering the possibility himself. Sanchez is, according to some reports, not a serious leader of the offense, and he apparently lacks a work ethic. I don't know. This culture of "corruption" of which Sanchez's backup spoke at season's end is such a cauldron of poor planning and bombast, and the problem is neither Sanchez nor his unhappy former co-captain Santonio Holmes. The problem is that Rex Ryan is a very good defensive coordinator but not a great Head Coach and is almost completely devoid of offensive vision.

But you know, outside of that, the Jets are actually still not that bad a team, and Mark Sanchez, if he can improve even vaguely, might yet lead the offense to the playoffs again. That might seem like a bold statement considering how deeply felt everyone's funeral songs were for the Jets' future at season's end.

But Mark Sanchez is close to being a good quarterback, if not a great one. His statistics show a QB whose rating has incrementally improved in three years. He threw 26 touchdowns in 2011, which was an improvement, though against 18 interceptions, which was at least two less than he threw his first year. His passing yardage has increased each year. One of the most telling pieces of information is that he was fifth in the NFL this year in being sacked (39 times). That was a steady growth from the season before, and we all knew how bad the Jets front line was this season as early as the Ravens' game. Take with this that Sanchez was saddled with the underperforming Brian Shottenheimer offense, and you can actually argue that the problem is not his alone.

But he isn't on any lists of top statistical performances from last year. In overall stats, Ryan Fitzpatrick had a better season than he, and so did Carson Palmer, technically. I admit I actually believed he'd throw for 4,000 yards this season, so I'm as ridiculous as anyone else who, conversely, thinks that the only answer is Peyton Manning. I don't see how things can get markedly better for the Jets' offense, even with Tony Sporano as offensive coordinator, and the team has made personnel decisions that are just terrible. So what real good will a modest improvement in Sanchez's performance really bring, anyway?

Maybe he still might be a good quarterback, or even a very good one, but it will be if only the gods will be kinder to our club next year. Of course, I don't recall many instances where the gods have been so generous with us over the years since Super Bowl III, and perhaps they are only now reminding us that the confident, almost oblivious young Californian who took the field to lead the Jets over the Patriots in the playoffs more than a year ago should have counted his blessings while he still had them going his way.

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