Here are some thoughts on the Jets, Mark Sanchez, and where we are headed.
I first want to address the paradox between the philosophy that Rex Ryan has instilled in our organization and his coaching style.
The Rex Ryan era brought with it a "Win Now" philosophy. Big and Brash, Ryan originally made it clear that it is good to be confident and aggressive, reasonable to expect immediate success.
Today Ryan's coaching speaks otherwise. A DC at heart, Ryan has run a conservative offensive, emphasizing low risk, mistake free football. After 3 years of big talk, Ryan is coaching scared and I would contend that this has screwed up Sanchez's development.
As I wrote in another post:
The problem with asking a playaction, gunslinger QB like Sanchez to be a game manager (make the safe reads and no mistakes) is that it messes with his head. Sanchez is so scared to get sacked that he often he throws the ball off balance: poor accuracy. He is so scared to get an interception that he tries to force his motion to get extra velocity: poor accuracy. It is crucial that Sanchez gets his head on straight and start leading his receivers. It is the QB’s job, especially when your running the play action, to place the ball where your receivers can get YAC.
We know that Sanchez is not a Brady-esque precision passer that picks apart teams in the short game. We’ve tried to ask him to be and it was a disaster. The primary reason for this is Sanchez's tendency to get flustered and overwhelmed by the short windows. He hesitates and when he does pull the trigger, he forces the ball. This leads to inaccurate throws, tipped passes, and interceptions.
Sanchez thrives when he has time, on rollouts he is particularly good at hitting his receiver in stride. What this shows is that when he has composure he can be accurate. He has the ability, he doesn't have the mindset, and so far the Jet's have made little progress in fixing this.
Now we're 2-3, Sanchez is at the bottom of the league, and naturally most people are calling for his head. We want that trophy. More than that we want a Drew Brees, a Tom Brady. A guy that will put the team on his back and win the game single handedly. So do we bail? Give the ball to Tebow? Tank for Geno Smith? Trade up and lose even more depth? Some of you want to.
I think that is the exact type of strategy that got us into this mess in the first place. We are so hungry to win that we forgot that we have to build. To me, what the Jets and Sanchez need is a new QB coach and an offensive game plan tailored to his strengths.
We need a coach that will take him 1on1 and train him under duress situations. I'm talking drills where he's feeling pressure on all sides and he has to step quick and hit specific targets on the money. I envision him surrounded by pad blocks with narrow throwing lanes, set targets, and lots of noise and distractions (i.e. slaps, grabs at jersey etc.)
To me the biggest problem with Mark's game is his focus and his inability to make tiny adjustments with his feet. You’ve seen Brady, Rodgers, Peyton, Brees, Rothlisburger, Rivers, Ryan, shit even RGIII do it.
Its called composure under duress. It means even when there an insurmountable amount of pressure on you, you keep your head on a swivel, look through your reads, use your peripherals to detect pressure, adjust, step into the throw and pull the trigger.
No one said playing QB is easy. Very few people can be elite at it.
Personally I think Mark Sanchez’s ceiling is just very good. But very good can win a SB. What Sanchez needs to learn is how to deal with pressure. I’m not a coach, or a football guru, but I have been watching this game for a long time and I think I understand what it takes to be a Quality NFL QB.
Drew Brees is not a tall dude. It is his footwork, accuracy, and vision that allows him to carve up teams the way he does. Unfortunately we don’t have Brees, we have Sanchez. And I know all you kids love to Bitch and Moan about how he’s not the answer and we need a new elite QB, but guess what? They are hard to find and I don’t think The Saints to The Falcons will be giving up theirs anytime soon.
What the Jets need is a foundation and you build a foundation by giving your new play makers opportunities. Rex plays conservative football. Hard-nosed Defense with a mistake free Offense. But we know thats not who Sanchez is. And honestly we know thats not who the Jets can be. Not with our Offense, not with Shonne Greene, not with Bart Scott, not with any of the old, slow players that Rex is infatuated by. We need to give Joe McKnight a shot. We need to let Dernario Davis get some reps. We just signed Grimes, we need to see what we have in him! Rex is scared, he doesn't want to lose and thats fair. But with our two best players out for the season, now is the time to take risks. To see what we have in this guys. Its like a get off free card and Rex and co. desperately need to use it.
Our job as fans is to roll with it. We need to not be afraid of imperfection, because by taking chances you discover the path to success.
The FO was smart to restructure Mark’s contract, it gave the Jets more room to build the team over the next few years. We need an elite pass rusher, better O-Line depth, and a back that we can feature. Lets use this loss to the Texans as the start of a new era. Lets develop the weapons we have and draft for the future. Any given Sunday, but what gets those crucial few inches are play makers. Lets find them and lets coach them.
But most of all Mark Sanchez needs a mentor and to me Cavanaugh isn’t the answer. I am not a Sanchez apologist, the blame falls squarely on him. He needs to step up and if he doesn’t then he needs to move on. But I also want whats best for the Jets and giving up on the 5th pick of the draft in the beginning of his 4th year after 1 yr in college, 2 play off appearances, a half-retarded coordinator, and no receiving corp in order to throw a 1st round pick (or trade…I ask for who?) at a college QB that you don’t know will be any better? Well that doesn’t sound too smart to me.
Lets let Mark do what he does best (throw on the bootleg, play action) give him weapons (McKnight, Keller, Cromartie?) and develop our young player (Davis, Powell, Kereley, Grimes). And when we draft next year, whether top 16 or bottom, lets address needs (LB, OL, RB, TE). Build the team and once you have depth and Mark still isn't working, then trade up big for your next Franchise QB. But I think if we do this in 2-3 years Sanchez will surprise us.
To sum it up: Lets start fixing whats broken, tailoring to what we have. Then maybe we’ll have the right to start expecting to “Win Now”.