I get tired of defending Mark Sanchez. It's overkill sometimes, but still I will fight the good fight. All you guys that kick a guy when he's down, or complain about all the other young QB's that would have done a better job with the Jets, I'll give a non biased (as possible for me) of the young QB's that are Sanchez's peers that are in the playoffs. Some of these guys have been listed in recent posts I've read as guys that are examples of how bad your own Mark Sanchez is.
Next game up. Bengals at Texans. Battle of the rookie QB"s. I've also read from numerous guys about how easy it is for a rookie QB to do well these days in the NFL. "Just look at Cam Newton and Andy Dalton" is the first line out of everyone's mouth. Well here's Andy Dalton. Rookie QB, with 1st round #4 pick AJ Green. Andy's Bengals go down 31-10 to the Houston Texans. If you remember, Mark has beaten the Colts, Bengals, Patriots, and Chargers, all in road playoff games. In Dalton's 1st go round he goes 27 of 42 with 3 INT's. Zero TD's. For the year Dalton goes 58% completion rate (similar to Mark Sanchez), is this guy the future of the Bengals? I don't doubt it. Is he better, or going to be better than Sanchez? There's no doubt in my mind that Sanchez is a better QB than Dalton.
Next game up. Lions at Saints. This game is a biggie, because it highlights the Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman draft. Lions lose to the Saints. Stafford, despite his big year is 0-1 in the playoffs, again Sanchez is 4-2. Many of you are no doubt going to say that Stafford doesn't play defense and his team put 28 points on the board. This is where I will counter that by telling you look at how they did it. Stafford threw the ball 43 times, 15 of them went to Calvin Johnson. 12 of those Johnson caught. In fact, of Stafford's 380 yards passing 211 of them went to Calvin Johnson. The point being is that nearly half his throws and half his TD's are going to the best WR in football in Calvin Johnson. Andre Johnson is the best in the AFC, while Calvin is the best in the NFC, and he has been doing it for 3 years running. Stafford is 0-1 in the playoffs, he has the best and easiest target to throw to. He is 0-1, Sanchez is 4-2. If you think Stafford is better, it's up for debate. Who would debate that Calvin Johnson is better than Santonio Holmes as a #1 option on offense?
Pittsburgh at Denver. Last game of this weekend. Roethlisburger who I've pointed out did not have a better year than Sanchez, plays the Tim Tebow Broncos. Many have questioned me when I said that Sanchez is on par with Roethlisberger. Many point to his super bowl rings and field command. Well this year he accounted for 21 TD's 14 INT's and 0 rushing TD's. He also fumbled 8 times this year. Sanchez accounted for 30+ TD's with 18 INT's and 10 fumbles. Who had the better year? I say Sanchez, but many of you say Big Ben. Why, I'm not sure. Stats are stats. Roethlisberger has the Steelers defense which is a top 5 year after year after year. He isn't counted on to be much more than a game manager and make some big plays in the playoffs. Well, when the Steelers came to Mile high to play the Broncos, they lost. In overtime to the Broncos. Sound familiar? Well it should because the Jets went to Denver and played the Broncos and lost in overtime. The difference being the Jets played in Denver on 4 days rest not including the day to travel to Denver which turns it to 3 days rest to practice, study film, and recover from the last game. The Jets had the game won, if not for the much discussed Eric Smith meltdown. The Steelers had to rally just to get to over time. For the game Big Ben was 22 of 40, or just barely over 50% for a TD and an INT.
My point being is this. Many have crapped on Mark Sanchez all year, and especially since the Jets have missed the playoffs. However, if you look across the board, every QB has faults. Big Ben is not accurate, and has a great defense every single year. Matt Stafford has the best WR in football (a 6'5 guy that runs a 4.3 and can catch). Matt Ryan has Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, and Michael Turner. Matt Shaub, even before injury has the best WR in the AFC in Andre Johnson, and a terrific running game. Philip Rivers has Vincent Jackson, Malcomb Floyd, Antonio Gates and has never won in the post season.
Despite the many detractor's of Sanchez, these things can't be debated. Does he have the receiving corps that the Falcons, Lions, Texans, Steelers, or Patriots have? I would expect some argument, but in my mind the Jets have no where near the talent across the board at WR and TE that many of these teams have when added up. He has a just out of jail Burress, a very good Dustin Keller, and a #2 Santonio Holmes that is used as a #1. I'm not going to bother looking this up, but I would argue that Holmes has never lead a team in receiving as a #1. He had Heath Miller, Hines Ward, and even Mike Wallace. Last year he had Braylon Edwards. He was always a #2.
So when you add it up, Mark Sanchez has gone to the playoffs and won 4 out of 6 playoff games, despite having the luxuries that some of these other guys had. Before we all bash him (we're all Jets fans), let's respect him for what he has given you. He has given you an expectation of reaching the playoffs that you never had before. You don't even realize it, but you never expected to make the playoffs every year with Chad Pennington, Vinny Testeverde, Browning Neagle, Boomer Esaison, Neil O'donnell, or even Kenny O'brien. Sanchez has queitly come in and given you solid quarterback play, although up and down.
He has given you the expectation that you will go to the playoffs. However you have all masked it as a good defense. Then it was masked as a good running game. Then it was masked as good coaching. It is none of these. The reason you even have a shot of going to the playoffs year after year, is because Mark Sanchez has stood in the pocket and scraped himself up after getting nailed by defensive ends and D tackles all year. Despite Von Miller, and Demarcus Ware continuiously punishing him. He hasn't been lost for the season, he has picked himself up and thrown 26 touchdowns, when most guys would be out for 2-4 weeks with injury. He gave you 6 TD's rushing.
He's taken physical punishment. He's taken fan and reporter harassment. This offseason, just watch the playoffs, and look at what you have. Watch the guys that you swear are better than Sanchez that lose playoff games because they don't have the heart that Sanchez has. Instead of petitioning for a new quarterback, instead petition for a real #1 wide receiver and a tackle that can keep your guy upright.
Here's to 2012 and Mark Sanchez making the pro bowl, and getting to the super bowl.