When they traded up in Saturdays' draft to select ex-USC QB Mark Sanchez the Jets were hoping to end their 33 year quest of drafting a QB who was capable of leading them to the SB. Today Mark Sanchez steps on the field at the Atlantic Health Training Center to begin that quest.
The Jets rookies begin a three day mini-camp and all eyes will be on the right arm of Mark Sanchez today. Today is the first day that Sanchez sets up under center as a Jet and tries to deal with all the heightened expectations that come with being the new face of the franchise.
Rex Ryan has said both Clemens and Sanchez will be given an equally fair shot at being the starting QB when the Jets open their season at Houston on September 13th but let's face the facts here. If Sanchez shows that he's ready to play right out of the gate it won't matter what Clemens does, Sanchez will be the starting QB.
Ryan saw first hand that if you surround even a rookie QB with a strong running game and a solid defense that rookie QB's can win at the NFL level. Both Flacco and Matt Ryan raised the bar of expectation as rookie QB's by leading their teams to the playoffs. One of the strengths in Sanchez game is that he'll take the big hit in the pocket instead of just throwing a lame duck into the air.
Sanchez performance with the Jets will be judged solely on his ability to help get the Jets over this 41+ year hump. A winning record, a Wildcard or even divisional title won't be enough for Sanchez, when a team moves into the top five and drafts what should be the face of a franchise nothing less than a SB will do. Winning just one SB took all kinds of heat off of Eli Manning and canonized Joe Namath.
A brand new stadium, a brand new HC with a tremendous defensive pedigree everyone is excited about, a very pricey offensive line, two Pro Bowl RB's and now the franchise QB. Woody Johnson, who for years took a lot of heat for being a disinterested owner, has put his checkbook on the line and has given the Jets and their fans everything they need to get to the top.
All that remains now is to find out exactly what kind of cook is Rex Ryan. While he didn't get to do all of the grocery shopping Woody Johnson has certainly given Ryan a very full shopping cart with which to work with. All that remains is hoping Sanchez and the rest of his new teammates are hungry.