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Freeman: Mark Sanchez's Confidence Is Gone

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL insider Mike Freeman of relays a message directly from the Jets locker room.

Jets player to me on Mark Sanchez: “I’ve never seen a guy lose his confidence to this level. It’s gone. He’s playing scared.”

How much Sanchez is responsible for his own lack of development and how much the coaching is to blame is a constant source of discussion around here. It's kind of moot as Sanchez is damaged goods either way at this point.

This is a good example of how no matter how bad the coaching has been, Sanchez just lacks the intangibles that make great quarterbacks. It's something that has been obvious about him since his rookie year. The second something doesn't go his way, he has gone into the tank. His bad body language was on full display at the end of last season and is once again this year. Announcers who meet with him before the games comment on how unconfident he looks.

Part of being a great quarterback means having the kind of mental toughness to get through adversity. Just look at Tom Brady Sunday. His team was dominated for over a half. He couldn't do anything. It didn't get to him. He shook it off and engineered an incredible comeback.

Teams need their quarterbacks to lead. A quarterback who inspires confidence makes everybody play harder and better. It's no accident the Jets played their most inspired football of the year when Sanchez was benched two weeks ago for Greg McElroy. Suddenly, the team caught fire because it had a quarterback in there who lifted everybody up. McElroy might not have enough physical tools to be successful as an NFL quarterback, but it won't be because of his attitude.

When he was drafted out of USC, people worried that Sanchez had never failed. It was unclear how he would handle it. It was a valid criticism. You never want somebody who accepts failure. Through his body language and some of his remarks, it seems like Sanchez has become somebody resigned to a lack of success. That's as big of a problem as his throws into double coverage are.