EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 01: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets spits out a sunflower seed during their pre-season game at MetLife Stadium on September 1, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
It hasn't been advertised, but the coaching staff quietly has given the third-year quarterback more freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage. Sanchez has come a long way from the color-coded wrist band, circa December 2009.
This is overdue. The team's refusal to give Sanchez this kind of authority cost it dearly in the AFC Championship Game on the now infamous fourth quarter goal line series. On third down, the Jets passed even though Pittsburgh only had a linebacker and a safety on the left side of the field defensively. Checking the play into a run to that side likely would have resulted in a touchdown and a very different finish. What made it even more puzzling was how inconsistent the Jets were in delegating Sanchez authority. In the first game of last year, Sanchez was pretty much calling every play based on what he saw at the line.
Here is hoping the Jets find the happy medium this year.