The Unforgivable Carelessness of Mark Sanchez

The injured quarterback, who has likely played his last down for the Jets, does not deserve the press's pity

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Al Bello / Getty Images

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez tore the labrum of his throwing shoulder against the Giants in Week 3 of the preseason. The team placed Sanchez on a special injured reserve that allowed the possibility of a late-season return, but it wasn’t to be: Sanchez underwent season-ending surgery on Tuesday evening. With a bloated contract the team can shed after 2013, we have probably seen the last of Mark Sanchez as a Jet.

So what does the world make of the end of the Sanchez era? Brian Costello in the New York Post: “The team’s handling of Sanchez and his injury has been shameful.” Rich Cimini, in ESPN New York: “I’ve seen a lot of stuff in 25 years of covering the New York Jets, but this Sanchez story -– from the injury to the cover-up — might be one of the franchise’s most embarrassing egg-on-face incidents.”

That sentiment, shared by most all of the Jets’ credentialed press corps, sounds like the pity-Sanchez rhetoric stirred up by the Aug. 24 injury, and by owner Woody Johnson’s subsequent comments. Two weeks after Sanchez took the big hit, Johnson said: “He’s an experienced guy. I wished he hadn’t gotten hurt, but you’ve got to protect yourself, too.”

The Daily News said Johnson showed “appalling carelessness” in his apparent critique of Sanchez; ESPN called it “insensitive.” But Johnson’s words, however sloppily composed, were an accurate assessment of Sanchez’s most glaring flaw: the very carelessness reporters accused Johnson of exhibiting.

One of Sanchez’s biggest pro-level problems (there are many!) has been his inability to survive the pass rush. In 2011, per Pro Football Focus, Sanchez ranked fourth-likeliest among starters to get sacked under pressure. In 2012, he ranked third. It gets uglier. In 2012, the Jets led the league in “play-call sacks” — sacks allowed to unblocked defenders. And who, again, is responsible for telling linemen how to pick up rushers? It’s the quarterback.

The thing about coordinating pass-blocking is that it’s one of the easiest challenges a quarterback faces. All the action happens pre-snap, before players are sprinting and hitting each other. Zipping a prolate spheroid into the hands of a leaping man 20 yards downfield, at the split-second he’s open: That’s hard. Telling your tight end or running back, “Hey, be sure to block this outside linebacker when he starts to run toward you”: a cinch, by comparison. And Sanchez did it horribly.

What’s worse: the easy stuff, the game’s cerebral component, was billed as Sanchez’s forte, when he entered the draft. “Shows maturity, confidence and intelligence,” read one scouting report. “Cerebral. … Reads defenses well and rarely throws into coverage. … Goes through his progression quickly and takes what the defense gives him. … Recognizes the blitz very well for a player of his experience and often targets the defenses’ weak link when being blitzed,” said another. A third: “Sanchez’s mental game is outstanding. He prepares well and reads defenses exceptionally. He displays excellent instincts and does a great job victimizing the defense.”

Wishful thinking, all of that.

Of course Sanchez’s Jets tenure would end because of a pass rush he misread. The right tackle didn’t pick up the man who flushed Sanchez from the pocket, and straight into a big hit from Marvin Austin. Frustration over that shortcoming — shared by every fan, if not by the reporters to whom Sanchez was so gracious for four years — is what’s at the heart of Johnson’s “protect yourself” bit. Sanchez has never protected himself; he has never protected the ball; he has never protected the offense. Mark Sanchez was professionally careless.

Since his injury, Sanchez has injected his not-to-be fifth season with promise it never had. “I won the competition. There’s no doubt,” he told the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, about his training-camp battle with Geno Smith. Finally he’s gotten around to protecting something. But it’s his legacy in the 2013 preseason, the least important thing of all.

8 comments
ImacmanLA77
ImacmanLA77

Mark Sanchez did not lead the Jets to two AFC Championship games. He was dragged along by a team loaded with talent at every poisition except his. All he was asked, or trusted, to do was be a game manager, and get the ball near his immensely talented receiving corps. That works until you come up against teams with QBs who have that talent and the fire in the belly to go get the game, and the coaching staff that trusts them. Wth any other starter in the top 16 teams the Jets are in or win one ir two Super Bowls. For anyone to defend his 2011 stats is a farce. Did you WATCH the last two games of that season? His utter collapse against the Giants and the Dolphins? THAT was what Mark Sanchez delivered when it' was all riding on him.

2012 was worse. The writer has it right in this piece. Sanchez never learned anything, and it was stupidity and carelessness that led to his downfall. He killed more rallies, threw away more games, than anyone in the league, in ghe process becoming the laughingstock of the nation. His final play as a Jet sums it up... Stupid decision making, holding the ball too long, trying to force a throw he hasnt the arm to make, and failing to protect himself or the ball. And, then, just as he always did, quietly trashing his teammates and coaches and management while presenting himself as the good soldier.

Did amyone notice how many of his teammates came over to check on him while he was writhing around like a baby after that hit? ZERO. His teammates were sick of him. They understood what a blame shifter he was, what a partier he was, how ne mistreated and abused women, and how his paycheck was robbing hard-working diligent young men of a chance to play for the Jets. Theyd seen all they needed to see of Mark Sanchez, the ,ost overpaid, worst four year QB in NFL history. And he had it all handed to him, not like Brady, who keeps New England in the hunt despite losing almost all nis receivers and backsand having no runnning game, and who faught and competed his way to the top, unlike ex-pretty boy Sanchez with his high pick, senior year skipping, giant contract, immediate starting

Job ride of a easy time. He paid no dues, and expected it to come easy, and didnt put in the work.

Goodbye to Sanchez. Woody wishes he could go back in time and undo that pick. He cant, but he can ride Geno for a while and rebuild what Sanchez's cap hit destroyed. And Ryan has benn exposed as well. His vaunted defense has been solved. Brees must be salivating.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

I have to laugh at the vehemence of the posters here.  Who gives a damn?  If the sport disappeared today, the world would continue to spin exactly the same way and life would go on with out any notice whatsoever.

Perspective is a wonderful thing.  Too bad so few posses it.

MeaganMartinez
MeaganMartinez

Please don't ever write again.....EVER! Only a psychopath would think the Jets did the right by this guy. Shove it!

NancyHillaMalinowski
NancyHillaMalinowski

this is pure bs- this guy has no clue what Sanchez said or didn't say or what the  3rd string right tackle heard or didn't do. Shame on this writer.

eagle11772
eagle11772

Sanchez was never good enough to be a starting quarterback of note.

MeaganMartinez
MeaganMartinez

Yeah, because women don't watch sports unless it's for the hotties, huh? FAIL!! So much for being an open mind idiot.

MeaganMartinez
MeaganMartinez

We'll just ignore the two back to back AFC TITLE GAMES the Jets went to with him under center. Oh, and that he actually finished his third season with pretty competitive stats despite not makin the playoffs. Just shut your ignorant pie hole.

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