As expected, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez encountered a chorus of boos from hometown fans Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars in their second preseason game. This negative reaction did not seem to immediately bother Sanchez as he completed his first five passes, leading Gang Green on an opening-drive touchdown.
When given time, he went through his progressions and found open receivers. Tight end Jeff Cumberland again brought in a touchdown pass, which provides hope for the regular season. This is especially important because Sanchez likes to find tight ends over the middle when facing pressure.
All seemed well until New York’s fifth-year player threw an interception when they were threatening to score again. He seemed to get rattled after the error, going 8-of-18 through the duration and finishing 13-of-23 overall for 169 yards. Concerns with rhythm may have combined with injuries to Geno Smith and Greg McElroy to result in an extended outing. Head coach Rex Ryan left his starter in deep into the third quarter before he was replaced by Matt Simms. Ryan later told reporters on ESPN Radio that this was planned after Smith became ruled out.
Mobility in order to evade pressure has been something Sanchez is used to and in his defense, he continued showing some athleticism. Unfortunately, he became startled against pass rushers often, which is a common issue. The veteran showed glimpses of his promise along with the turnover problems that have greatly hampered career development. Ryan also said that competition continues between Sanchez and Smith, with there no exact timetable for naming his regular season starter. His stat line of one touchdown against one interception was identical the one he posted from New York’s preseason debut against the Detroit Lions. His performance next week against the New York Giants should provide another interesting chapter to this saga.