For the last two years that QB Mark Sanchez was with the New York Jets, he wasn’t at his best. In his third season with the Jets, Sanchez had only 13 touchdowns to his 18 interceptions. And in his last season with the team last year, he sat on the bench the whole time with a shoulder injury. His injury propelled QB Geno Smith into the spotlight and into the starting position. Despite his first two winning seasons with the Jets that brought the team all the way to the AFC Championship game, Sanchez has a legacy as a “butt fumbler” in New York.
But after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2013 season, Sanchez has got a little pep back in his step. He’s looking confident and efficient in his role as the backup QB. Last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sanchez took the second-string offense on an 80-yard drive against the Steelers’ first-string defense. The “Sanchize” looks to be back in full force.
So why couldn’t he do that with the Jets, especially in his third year since he was out all of his fourth year? You could argue that Sanchez had no one to throw the ball to on the Jets, but he’s been making it work with the second-string Eagles receivers. You could also say the drama with QB Tim Tebow got to him mentally and emotionally. I do think that had something to do with Sanchez’s decline, but I think the most pressing reason for his inability to perform was the mounting pressure to succeed as a New York QB. The first AFC East division championship is fantastic, but the second one is actually kind of annoying. Jets fans were somehow expecting a Super Bowl championship in that third year (no thanks to head coach Rex Ryan‘s big talk) and Sanchez’s third season became even more stressful than his first.
The change of scenery has definitely helped Sanchez to keep calm and focus on his play instead of dealing with the mounting pressure from New York media and fans. Philly fans aren’t any kinder than their New York counterparts, but Sanchez won’t mind some peace in his new home if he keeps up the solid stats.