Mark Sanchez is the NFL’s Worst Starting Quarterback

By Gil Alcaraz IV
Mark Sanchez
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, you read that right.

Regardless of what the Arizona Cardinals think, Mark Sanchez has proven throughout the 2012 season that he is without a doubt the worst starting quarterback in the NFL.

For the past four seasons, the New York Jets have waited patiently for Sanchez to break out of his inconsistency and pan out as their franchise quarterback. The waiting game, however, appears to be over as Sanchez’ struggles have reached an all-time high, giving many a reason to believe that his time as a starter in the NFL has come to an end.

One of the most telling stats: so far this season, Sanchez has finished four games with a total quarterback rating lower than seven. Most starting-caliber NFL quarterbacks don’t put up one pathetic quarterback rating throughout an entire season, while Sanchez already has a handful of them before the year is even over.

Over the past three games, Sanchez has thrown seven interceptions while managing only one touchdown. During each of those games, he has failed to eclipse the 150-yard mark. Despite the fact that the Jets won two of their last three games, Sanchez has been a non-factor as the defense and running game have been the only bright spots.

From a purely statistical point of view, Sanchez has been a subpar passer throughout his career. His 2012 numbers, however, have been reminiscent of his rookie year, which was less than impressive to say the least. His passer rating has taken a significant hit, while touchdowns have dropped and interceptions have increased. He’s taken 33 sacks on the year, which is more a comment on his inability to avoid the rush rather than how bad his pass blocking is. Only 54.8 percent of his passes have found their targets, which is better than only four other qualified NFL quarterbacks.

How horrid of a passer Sanchez is goes far beyond the stats, though.

When it comes to confidence in the pocket, Sanchez is among the worst in the league. Whenever the pocket starts to break down, he doesn’t step up or get rid of the ball. Instead, Sanchez has a knack for tucking the ball and running straight into oncoming traffic. If he doesn’t do that, he’s heaving the ball into double coverage and racking up those interceptions like they’re actually a good thing. The few times that he does step up and throw with confidence, though, Sanchez delivers an accurate ball that yields positive results; the problem is the infrequency of that occurrence.

Much like with Tony Romo, once the first interception flies, they come in bunches. Sanchez immediately gets flustered upon his first interception, which leads to more mistakes and a downhill tumble for the New York offense. Many quarterbacks are taught from a young age to have a short memory; it appears that Sanchez never received that lesson.

The worst part of all, though, is that the Jets and head coach Rex Ryan continue to enable Sanchez. Despite his awful performances, they have yet to put their foot down and permanently send him to the bench. Even after backup Greg McElroy orchestrated a game-winning drive in relief of Sanchez, the Jets were unable to muster the courage to sit their inept starter the next week.

Even if the Jets do decide to sit Sanchez for the final two games, it’ll be too late. The 2012 season is already lost, and his lackluster performances are largely to blame for another disappointing campaign for the Gang Green.

The Jets dug their own grave by letting Sanchez start the first 14 games, and must now watch as their pitiful playoff hopes go up in flames.

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