FanPost

Sanchez INT: Audible, Lock On, Slow on Release, Awareness. Game Changer



It is hard to remember exactly what this game was like at this point. More than half of the 1st quarter had expired and the score was 0-0. The Defense had been pretty stout, and the Jets were beginning to move the ball. They were just outside of the red zone at the 24 yard line, 6:06 left. The ass fumble hadn't happened yet, an entirely different future awaited them. Unfortunately this has been Sanchez time. Already in game-leading FG range Sanchez makes one of his patented red zone-ish turnovers, he's been doing them in first halves all year. They are often forgotten because of 2nd half blowouts or heroics, but in the first halves this year, with the Defense performing great time and time again Sanchez fails to take hold of the game. Games are like narratives, something that stats cannot easily capture. There are times when failure to perform really dictates what is possible or probably afterwards.

There are two big things on this play. The first is awareness. Sanchez - perhaps because of Gregory's exaggerated overplay - checks with his receivers and targets the middle of the field. He apparently does not notice that immediately upon this route check Gregory and Arrington check with each other, Arrington knows he has support on the inside from Arrington. The second problem is that Sanchez locks onto Kerley so early it gives Gregory plenty of time to cross the field. This is a significant aspect of Sanchez's play. People complain about his receivers, but his inability to survey the field calmly without looking straight at his primary receiver instead of giving the play away with his eyes, closes a lot of windows. And lastly Sanchez is slow to release the ball. He is unaware that the safety is coming over, which is something he should have his eye on because the safety was the cue in the first place. He does not adjust the throw to catch Kerley coming out of his break. The combination of early lock-on and slow release work to give Gregory enough time to close the distance.

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In the end the play wasn't even close. A combination of poor pre-snap awareness, defense disguise and baiting, locking on early and maybe even arm strength create really an easy INT. It is the quarterback's job to be able to read defenses, sense where there is deception, and to limit what the defense can read off of him. There have been "worse" INTs from Sanchez this year, serious execution or decision problems. This one just points to some deeper, quieter Sanchez limitations. Aside from his accuracy issues, his biggest problem maybe that in his fourth year he still can't see and dictate the field.

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