The Jets and Dolphins took Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne early in Drafts within a year of each other. Considering the bitter rivalry between the two teams, there was no doubt these two would be linked and compared frequently. In 2010, many believe Sanchez made a step in the direction of becoming New York's franchise quarterback. Henne, meanwhile, had an extremely disappointing season that had many speculating the Dolphins would move on without him.
Looking at the numbers, however, there is not a lot of distinction. Sanchez threw for 3,291 yards. Henne threw for 3,301. Sanchez had 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. Henne had 15 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Sanchez completed only 54.8% of his passes. Henne completed 61.4% of his passes. Sanchez had a 75.3 rating. Henne's rating was 75.4. Is it possible that Sanchez is only viewed as a franchise guy and Henne a disappointment because of their respective supporting casts and the effect it has had on team success?
I do not think so for a few reasons. The first is that Sanchez has reached heights which Henne has not. Sanchez has gone into Foxborough in the Playoffs and outplayed Tom Brady, throwing 3 touchdown passes. With all of the talk about the defense (and deservedly so), people overlook how fantastic Sanchez was that day. There have been other clutch Sanchez moments like when he hit 80% of his passes in the Playoffs at Cincinnati. Henne has nothing comparable on his resume.
Let's forget about that, though. Let us assume they are equals at this point. That is a problem for Henne. Henne should be further along at this point. He has way more experience. He started 47 games at Michigan. Sanchez started 16 games at USC. With this much greater game experience, he should be more polished since he had more time to hone his craft at a lower level and learn what he can and cannot do on the football field. On top of this, he entered the NFL a year before Sanchez. While he did not play much during his rookie season, he did have an extra year to learn his playbook, study the complexities of NFL defenses on film, adjust to pro players in practice, and understand what he needed to do off the field to prepare. None of this has given him a leg up on Sanchez, though. That is not good.
I don't agree with people who say that Henne's career is over. He still has time to turn things around and develop. Whether he will is a real question. Right now, though, Mark Sanchez is clearly developing better, no matter what the numbers say.