Mark Sanchez will lead the New York Jets into battle this weekend, just as he’s done virtually every week since the Jets made him their franchise quarterback in 2009. But there’s something different in the air this time.
For the first time in his four NFL seasons, Sanchez was benched midgame last week, after an utterly ineffective performance that has frustratingly become more of the norm for him rather than just “one of those days.”
That’s Sanchez up there. Picking himself up off the turf. Say what you want about his psyche. His physical toughness will never be in doubt. Every time he’s been knocked down, he’s picked himself up. That hasn’t changed.
However, the confident young quarterback that always had a knack for the big play when it mattered most? He’s seldom been seen for the better part of two years. Lately, Sanchez has been a shell of his former self.
Unfortunately for the Jets, they go as Sanchez goes. With him at the helm, they had early success. But as his play regressed, so has the team’s performance. That’s why there was such a noticeable spark when he was benched.
Greg McElroy may not be the savior. Tim Tebow certainly isn’t. But when Rex Ryan says that Sanchez gives them “the best chance to win,” it’s hard to really take that claim without a rather significant grain of salt.
Ryan has been one of Sanchez’s biggest supporters, but even he’s started to distance himself from the quarterback that he once seemed inseparable from. That doesn’t seem to bode well for Sanchez’s future in New York.
Ryan had no qualms about benching him last week. Expect Sanchez to have a short leash again this week.
With the clock getting closer and closer to striking midnight on the Jets’ season, it’s very possible that the clock is ticking on Sanchez’s tenure in New York as well. This could be his last chance to prove himself in this town.
Sanchez has been given every opportunity imaginable to prove he’s worth being the guy to lead the Jets into battle. Coming off of a benching, if he doesn’t step up now, it’s probably going to be time for him to step aside.
Regardless of the supporting cast, or lack thereof, Mark Sanchez still controls his own destiny. It’s now or never.
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