I get into more than a few discussions about Mark Sanchez and his ability(or lack of it) on this site.
A typical discussion starts off with someone saying... "dude Sanchez sucks, did you see him overthrow Kerley?!? That was a Touchdown for sure! He is costing us points; a starting QB should be hitting those throws!"
To which I'd counter...
"Well sure but dude, tons of starting QBs miss that throw ALL THE TIME. You ever stop to think If he had better people around him he wouldn't have to rush or force his throws?"
To which dude number one replies... "But the QB is supposed to make his team better NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!"
One could say a QB should make his team better and they would be right. One could also say a QBs success is not only dependent upon his abilities but the abilities of those around him as well, that would also be right.
How can this be?
Well say you have a QB with sub par wide outs but his line is doing a great job, a good QB would just have to lead his wide outs and help them get open. The fact that his line holds up means this QB both leaned on his team(the line in this case) AND made his team better(by throwing his WRs open.)
This is great example of how a good QB can get things done however this is in no shape way or form Mark Sanchez's situation.
Sure, one could say that Sanchez is simply off target and inaccurate but it could also be said that Mark not being able to make his team better could be a symptom of not being able to trust or lean on his team as well.
Think about it. There are QBs who have made sub par WRs look good and there are QBs who have also made sub par lines and running backs look good. Answer me this though, has there ever been a QB who made his line, receivers, and backs look good all at the same time while being efficient and/or successful???
Go ahead name one. I'll wait.
That is the situation Mark Sanchez finds himself in. These are also the circumstances under which blood thirsty fans and media expect him to be successful under.
Does this excuse Mark Sanchez from making a poor read or executing a terrible throw? Not at all, but first...lots of guys make poor reads and terrible throws and second, the conditions under which Sanchez are making these errors are not the typical conditions under which ANY NFL QB would be expected to perform well under in normal circumstances.
If that is true then why do analysts and critics point out Sanchez's errors as well???
Why does anyone? Because we are underperforming, underachieving, and the public needs something to talk about! Someone has to be the scape goat, the QB is as good as anyone. Especially when said QB is a highly touted, top draft pick who dates models and has not dominated the way we expect a top draft pick to. But is that his fault or ours for expecting too much?
Neither. The fault lays at the feet of the front office and coaching staff for not putting him in a position to succeed. That tale is one best saved for another post though, lets talk about Sanchez's perceived accuracy problems.
Mark Sanchez's completion percentage is in the toilet. We have all seen him miss throws.
The trouble with talking about Sanchez's accuracy is the fact that while completion percentage can sometimes be an indicator of good accuracy, it can also be a filthy liar telling you lies. For example lets discuss a familiar face and one of the most statistically accurate QBs ever Chad Pennington (according to completion%) .
We all know Chad, he managed the game, rarely turned it over. Not too many bad throws at all. But we all know this is because he rarely if ever threw down field because his completion percentage there took a huuuuge dip on deeper throws.
Completion percentage doesn't account for the inclusion of longer throws or throws thrown into tight coverage or between narrow windows. It also doesn't distinguish between perfect passes that just get dropped by WRs or perfect passes not caught because a wrong route was run. So completion percentage as a way of determining true accuracy is ...well...inaccurate.
Well then if completion percentage is inaccurate we just have to look at footage to see how accurate Sanchez is. Cool? Okay, cool. Well guess what!?Sanchez just missed a bunch of throws on film! I know this, I mean some of those throws you could argue, but there are clearly a few missed passes for points left on the field. I saw this with my own two eyes.
You know what else I saw? I also saw Matt Schaub miss just as many throws in the Texans win. I also just saw Andrew Luck make Sanchez look like a military sniper this past Sunday on account of all his missed throws.
Does this mean Sanchez is more accurate than these guys? No, but if that is the case how can you clearly say Sanchez is any less accurate than those guys if during the same games they are missing just as many throws?
I've found most detractors would say that Sanchez on a week to week basis misses these passes at a much higher rate than most QBs.
To this I say prove it.
We know about how many passes Sanchez misses each week because we are Jets fans that watch Jets games and Sanchez is the Jets QB. No one(at least none I know of) ever tracks the misses of opposing QBs on a week to week basis, so how can we actually place a value on or rank his accuracy knowing this? How can we say he is the least accurate QB when we have no idea about how many times a game the other 31 QBs miss their targets?
The same thing goes for decision making. I once argued all QBs make poor reads and decisions using a Matt Ryan interception as example. I was countered with the argument that Sanchez makes those mistakes at a higher rate than Ryan to which I agreed but honestly...how the hell do we know!?! Aren't we actually just making that assumption because Ryan stats are gaudier and his team is successful right now? Is it really that impossible that a good QB may get away with MORE mistakes than Sanchez right now, simply because they may have a stronger team behind them to bail themselves out?
This is why definitive decisions and criticisms of Sanchez are a bit pre emptive and reactionary. No one is saying Sanchez will deliver us a Super Bowl but to write it off completely would be short sighted. You need only look at Eli Manning's first four years in the league to see that. If you need more examples though you can also look at how horrible NFL greats Elway and Bradshaw were their first few years. Bradshaw a Hall of Famer mind you, took at least six seasons to resemble the player who would go on to be an NFL great.
So the next time Sanchez throws a pick or leaves plays on the field, get upset but also know that sometimes that kind of thing happens when you play QB, it happens to all QBs and the best way to make sure we have the QB we need would be to give him the tools he needs to succeed and see if he thrives. If not, the next QB better be able to make use of the tools that Sanchez didn't.