I want to start this fanpost by saying that Rex Ryan made the right move today by benching Mark Sanchez and playing Greg McElroy. I used to be a most avid Sanchez apologist, coming up with every excuse imaginable in an effort to defend him and his play. I am not going to try to dispute the fact that Mark Sanchez simply does not have what it takes to be an NFL quarterback, or at least not one for the Jets. I had been calling for McElroy to start for weeks, and today I finally got my wish, but instead of erupting with joy I felt nothing but sadness. Call me sappy, but I have grown attached to the sanchize. I do feel in my heart that the Jets organization did everything they could to sabotage the man they labeled as their franchise quarterback. I want to point these occasions out, in an effort to maybe help us look at this situation a little more clearly.
Mess Up #1: The Decision to Start Mark as a Rookie
Coming out of college, nobody disputed the fact that Sanchez had a lot of talent. He had a good arm, mobility, and the "it" factor. The only knock against him? Experience. He had started only one year in college. He was exceptional in that one season, but experts thought he should stay at USC for at least another year, or sit on the sideline in the NFL until he was mentally ready. When the Jets drafted him in 2009, a lot of people thought the Jets would bring in a savvy vet to play quarterback for a year, someone like a Matt Hasselbeck to show Sanchez the ropes, or just play Kellen Clemens, who had experience as a starter in the NFL in past seasons with the Jets. Either would have been fine. Instead, the Jets decide that Sanchez is their guy during training camp, and while that certainly looked like the right move three games into the season, we could all clearly see afterwards that Sanchez simply was not ready. Some people would argue that Kellen Clemens or another starter wouldn't have done any better than Mark in his rookie year, and maybe they are right, but that isn't the point. The point is that you want to protect your franchise quarterback's psyche, and the Jets threw him right into the fire with a whopping one year of experience under his belt. Just stupid.
Mess Up #2: Decline of Talent/Coaching
Normally, when an organization wants to build around a player, they surround him with talent that can elevate said players abilities. They put him in situations that will allow him to succeed. The Jets did not do this with Mark Sanchez. In 2010, the Jets gave Sanchez a plethora of weapons. Braylon, Santonio, Jerricho, LT, Brad Smith, and Dustin Keller. That is offensive talent. They tailored the offense to his strengths, letting him beat teams deep with play-action and roll-out throws. Over the past two years, the Jets have let almost all of their talent on offense disappear, whilst asking Sanchez to do more and more. How does that make any sense? It doesn't. That does not mean that Sanchez is excused from his horrendous play, because he is not. He has consistently made terrible decisions that are his fault and nobody else's.
Then there is the coaching aspect of this situation. I'm sorry, but Brian Schottenheimer's ineptitude with the Rams only furthers the theory that the man is clueless. He would continually make us Jets fans scratch our heads with his questionable-at-best play calling, and I know I was overjoyed when the Jets gave him the boot. Then comes Tony Sparano, a man that had never tailored a successful NFL offense save for his flash-in-the-pan wildcat nonsense with the Dolphins. Yet, the Jets thought he was "perfect" for our team. Seriously? Having Rex as a head coach doesn't help the matter either, because the man knows next to nothing about how an offense operates. All of these factors add up, and all of them had something to do with Sanchez's downfall.
Mess Up #3: The Tim Tebow Trade
Was there a Jets fan anywhere that actually liked this move when it happened? I know I have never met one. There is a reason for that: because the move makes absolutely no sense. Name me another organization that would bring in the whirlwind of controversy that is Tim Tebow while trying to convince their franchise quarterback that he "is the guy". You can't, because nobody else is that stupid. Regardless, they tried telling us that it would work, that Tebow would be our ace in the hole, our secret weapon, and us Jets fans would be able to yell "Haha!" at the rest of the league.
Come on now, you know the saying: If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. It's simple. The Jets made the move to fill seats, not to set a fire under Sanchez, and it is clear that having to substitute the two quarterbacks in and out all the time does nothing but confuse and scramble everybody else.
In sum, Mark Sanchez deserves to be benched. He no longer deserves to start for our Jets, as he has not progressed into that guy we thought would lead us to the promised land. I wrote this fanpost to help us look at his benching from a fair standpoint. I know many of you were ecstatic when you saw him holding a clipboard, but I was saddened, because it meant the end of the Sanchez era, one that began with such promise.