New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been granted a free pass by some followers this season due to not having the best offensive unit in the game to work with. Far from it, actually. However, this excuse for Sanchez is somewhat offset by the Jets’ rather weak schedule in 2012.
Even with mediocre talent surrounding Sanchez at the skill positions, the Jets should have been at least .500 at this point against teams that aren’t exactly setting the league on fire. How can Sanchez continue to look so inept against such very bad teams?
One of the biggest problems with Sanchez is his lack of mental toughness as he buckles too easily under pressure. Where other successful quarterbacks possess a sixth sense to escape trouble at the most difficult times, Sanchez seems to lack the ability to recognize and avoid adversity.
Is this a quality that can be coached into Sanchez or does his stunted development make it impossible for such improvement? It is kind of difficult to be optimistic at this point. The team has to build around Sanchez’ weaknesses, which places severe limits on how the offense can be designed and how varied it can be.
The extension of Sanchez’ contract in the offseason by GM Mike Tannenbaum has painted the Jets into a tight corner. They now have very little wiggle room with the offense unless they are able to move Sanchez, which may be the best solution at this point.
His failure to excel against low end NFL teams magnifies the alarming drop in his performance and production. He has been unable to build and sustain any momentum for the offense this season. Not being able to light a fire against such a low level of competition is damning for him.
With the Jets’ final four games of the season against poor teams, it just may be Sanchez is now playing for his Jet career. Even if he does relatively well, it still may not be enough. There are simply not enough available offensive skill players in the NFL for the Jets to turn around a battered offense in just one offseason.
The most nightmarish scenario is the Jets winning the last four, going 9-7, missing the playoffs and getting a lower middle first round pick. With such an unappealing outcome, fans can only root for Sanchez to continue to bomb against the league’s doormats.