New York Jets quarterback battle? Why Mark Sanchez will start in Week One.

Geno Smith, QB, WVU, was selected 39th overall in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Geno Smith, QB, WVU, was selected 39th overall in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Mark Sanchez is feeling the pressure after the New York Jets decided to take Geno Smith 39th in the second round of the NFL Draft. But is his worry unwarranted? Can he sit back and know that his career and starting job isn’t in jeopardy?

Sanchez was selected with the 5th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. A one year starter, he led the Trojans to a 12-1 record, with a Rose Bowl victory, where Sanchez was named MVP. He is contracted until 2015.

After leading the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in his first year, he led them to their second straight AFC Championship Game, but then regressed as the team missed out on the playoffs in the next two years, with a 6-10 record in the 2012 season.

Now, I’m not here to sing Mark Sanchez his praises, I’m not a particular fan of his play. His butt fumble is still one of the most talked about plays of 2012. He’s inconsistent, incredibly overrated, and the absolute opposite of Peyton Manning. Sanchez has  never eclipsed an average 79.0 quarterback rating in the regular season, but has posted an average of 94.3 in the post-season.

The problem here now isn’t Mark Sanchez. He has essentially thrown his name in to be traded or to prove how not to be a starting QB in the NFL. He has proven that he’s actually statistically WORSE than Sam Bradford, Christian Ponder, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chad Henne, backup Greg McElroy and he only has a 2% completion rate higher than Blaine Gabbert.  If you’ve taken note of these names and are looking at yourself, confused, the point I’m trying to make here is that he Sanchez does not even match up statistically to the mediocre list of quarterbacks named. To be fair, Ponder is an interesting prospect and Sam Bradford finally has weapons in the form of WVU duo Tavon Austin and Steadman Bailey.

So what’s the problem here? Why do I think he’s going to start the 2013 NFL season? Behind him are a pair of quarterbacks that are much better prospects than Mark Sanchez will ever be, Greg McElroy, a 7th round pick who proved that he can win big games by winning the BCS National Championship and the Capitol One Bowl and Geno Smith, a second round pick with an Orange Bowl victory and a near 70% completion rate.

So I repeat, what’s the problem? The problem here is Rex Ryan and the New York Jets front office. Rex Ryan refuses to admit that Mark Sanchez is not as good as he’s meant to be as a first round franchise quarterback should be. As long as he wears the head coach headset for the Jets, Sanchez will be the preferred QB of the New York Jets.

Now, there is hope for them in John Idzik, the incumbent Jets GM, but like Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders, Idzik inherited a mess from former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum. Greg McElroy started towards the end of the season while Sanchez was benched. However, McElroy sustained an injury, and the Jets chose not to start Tim Tebow. The Jets aren’t sure whether McElroy OR Smith are ready to lead the Jets yet. Rez Ryan is so confident in Mark Sanchez that unless Geno Smith posts big numbers in the preseason, not even a training camp victory will sit him on top of the QB depth chart.

The successes of Rex Ryan in his first two seasons has gotten to his head. It’s an achievement to make it to two AFCCGs in your first two seasons, but to proclaim yourselves as a Superbowl calibre team while sharing a division with the New England Patriots, to turn a blind eye to Mark Sanchez’s regular season troubles, to the loss of Darrelle Revis, and it’s hard to believe that the Jets can even make another AFC Championship Game, let alone win the Superbowl while Sanchez remains the presumed starter and franchise quarterback.

In my opinion, McElroy should start while Geno Smith develops. Mark Sanchez can be a franchise quarterback, just not the New York Jets franchise quarterback.


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