Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jets need to stop acting like they have something to prove with Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez is the guy.

The New York Jets need to stop trying to prove it.

After being drafted fifth overall in 2009, the Southern Cal grad showed he could be the franchise quarterback the Jets have been longing for when he won his first three games, including a victory over the New England Patriots in his and coach Rex Ryan’s first game against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Sanchez proved it again as a rookie when he bounced back from an awful midseason run with two road playoff victories in which he took care of the football and made a few go-ahead plays that led to wins.

Last year, Sanchez again demonstrated his competence with an eight-touchdown, no-interception start to last season, and he won road games over the Indianapolis Colts and Patriots in the playoffs before New York fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in its second straight AFC Championship loss.

Sanchez plays his best football when it matters most -- in must-win games and fourth-quarter comebacks.

We already know what he can do. So why try to do what he can't?

The Jets don’t need Sanchez to attempt 36.75 passes a game like he has so far this season. They proved they can win and have him be effective with under -- sometimes well-under -- 30 passes a game.

But New York went out and signed a bunch of veteran standout receivers in the offseason, obviously neglecting the run game with its failure to do anything about an eroding offensive line – all to give Sanchez more to work with, so he can put up big numbers and finally etch himself in the category of elite quarterbacks.

Big mistake.

By not doing anything about an offensive trench unit that lost guard Alan Faneca and tackle Damien Woody in consecutive years, the Jets can’t run anymore. That would be fine and dandy, except that ground and pound is what got New York to two straight conference title games. Not to mention, lack of offensive line production equally affects the passing game, as we saw last week in the Jets’ offensive embarrassment against the Baltimore Ravens.

It seems as if Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer think the only way the rest of us will believe Sanchez is a capable 10-year starting quarterback is if he throws the ball nearly every down.

The only thing the Jets are doing now is disproving something they already had proven to begin with.

Sanchez has already shown he can be the franchise guy. So stop forcefeeding it, or the doubters will be proven right.

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