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Why Mark Sanchez Is Starting


This is not going to be a groundbreaking article. Many of you have already figured this out, but yesterday's game in Jacksonville made one thing clear. Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback of the New York Jets because of his contract.

Going into yesterday's game, there were only two other explanations as to why Sanchez would be starting. The first is that his benching against Arizona might serve as a wake up call. I found this rather dubious. Sanchez's problems relate to his inability to read a defense or throw an accurate ball. Getting benched wasn't going to help him figure out how to do that. Even if those problems were the result of a lack of working hard enough in the film room or the practice field to get over problems understanding concepts mechanical issues, a one week cram session wasn't going to make up for homework that needed to be done over the long offseason and into the regular season. The Jacksonville game showed surely that Sanchez is not over his issues. The exact same problems popped up.

The second possibility was Greg McElroy's lack of arm strength limited the playbook. I was not sympathetic to this either. Sanchez might have a bigger arm and be able to perform the entire playbook in theory, but what good is having the whole playbook if the quarterback shows an inability to execute any plays successfully in the game? The offense Tony Sparano ran yesterday shot this theory to death. The Jets ran an extremely simplistic playbook. Early in the game, they ran a bunch of basic plays that required the quarterback to make no reads and presented easy completions. That was as complex as it got. In the second half, the Jets were running the ball more than three times for every time they threw it. Greg McElroy could have run that playbook. Tim Tebow actually makes a lot more sense than Sanchez for the offense the Jets ran. If it is going to be all about the running game, Tebow adds an extra dimension. Defenses can't go all out trying to stop a back on a handoff because Tebow might fake it and keep it himself.

With this kind of offense, it makes no sense to play Sanchez. Tebow can run the offense better. McElroy is capable of running this kind of offense, and playing him can give the Jets a better idea of what they have on their hands when they do open it up a bit. Sanchez is playing because he has a big contract, and the Jets are trying to save face as they usually do when the rest of the world realizes they have made a mistake on player evaluation. They look bad if they admit everybody else was right, and they were wrong.

Let's call a spade a spade.