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Jets may quickly regret signing March Sanchez long-term

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez looks at the scoreboard after throwing an interception against the New York Giants in the fourth quarter during their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey December 24, 2011. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The New York Jets aren’t exactly in an envious position when it comes to their quarterback situation.

They have a guy in Mark Sanchez whom they parted with first and second round selections, as well as players Kenyon Coleman, Abram Elam and Brett Ratliff in order to acquire on draft day in 2009. Since then Sanchez has led them to two AFC title games in the past three years but he hasn’t exactly been Peyton Manning in the regular season.

Oh, and speaking of Manning, the four-time league MVP became available last week when the Colts released him following multiple neck surgeries and before he was due a massive roster bonus. As of this writing, Peyton is still available but you won’t be seeing him in green and white any time soon. That’s because the Jets decided to pass on signing Manning, at least according to owner Woody Johnson. Said Johnson, “We’re signed up with our quarterback. Sanchez is not leaving.”

No, he certainly isn’t. Not after the Jets signed him to a three-year, $40.5 million extension through 2016 after briefly flirting with signing Manning (who, as reported, rebuffed their advances). By committing to Sanchez long-term, I envision the Jets pushing all of their chips into the center of the pile and saying, “All in.” And I don’t like the move.

There will be plenty of people who suggest that former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who was viewed as too conservative and predictable, held Sanchez back the past three seasons. But offensive coordinators are always “too conservative and predictable” when an offense is struggling. I’m not a big fan of Schottenheimer’s playcalling but I think the problem in New York is that he was awfully limited at quarterback.

Has Sanchez played well in the postseason? No question. But the Jets reached the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 almost in spite of their limited quarterback – not because of him. Had it not been for Rex Ryan’s defense and a solid running game, there was no way Sanchez was putting the Jets on his shoulders and willing them to victories. If you disagree, then I wonder how you felt watching the Jets last year when their running game fell apart and the team crumbled under Sanchez’s play.

Teams shouldn’t make it a habit of rewarding quarterbacks that have regressed each year but that’s exactly what the Jets have done by signing Sanchez to an extension. What’s worse is that they’ve settled for complacency at the most important position on the field. Because of this contract extension, the Jets aren’t going to lure many veteran free agents wanting to win a job. And with nobody pushing Sanchez, what’s going to make him reach new heights as a quarterback?

Granted, the final three years allow the Jets to cut Sanchez without taking a massive cap hit. But for the next two seasons he’ll make big-time quarterback money and the problem is that he isn’t a big-time quarterback. Instead of restructuring his current deal, the Jets should have concentrated on creating competition at the position by bringing in a veteran starter. Now they’re committed to “Sanchise” for at least another two years and that, my friends, is a risk that probably wasn’t worth taking.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Is Mark Sanchez’s knee injury serious?

According to a report by the Newark Star-Ledger, Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez made a precautionary visit with the acclaimed Dr. James Andrews to have his right knee examined.

Sanchez suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in a 19-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills in a Week 13 game in Toronto when he made an ill-advised head-first slide. The exam is a precaution as Sanchez finished the season strong and showed no ill-effects of the injury.

Sanchez will likely have his left knee examined as well. He injured that knee in college. The trip to Birmingham, Ala., to see Andrews was first reported by The New York Post.

This offseason is vital for Sanchez because the Jets are expected to throw more of the playbook at him in his second year. The reason why some quarterbacks struggle in their second season is because more is expected of them, they have to learn more of the system and because defensive coordinators figure out more ways to defense them. So if Sanchez has to spend most of his offseason rehabbing from knee surgery, that would likely sidetrack his development.

Hopefully the injury is nothing serious though, and Sanchez can put in a ton of work this offseason. He’s going to need it before the season starts again.


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Will Mark Sanchez become a factor this Sunday?

Know what the best thing about the Jets is? No, it’s not the fact that they’ve taken on the role of Cinderella (a brash, cocky Cinderella for that matter) for this year’s playoffs, although that has certainly made them fun to watch. It’s always easy to root for an underdog, especially when that underdog is led by a walking sound bite in Rex Ryan.

Actually, the best thing about the Jets is that they know exactly who they are and they don’t hide from it. They’re a team that relies on running the ball and playing good defense, much like the Ravens did in 2000, the Buccaneers did in 2002, the Steelers did in 2005, the Bears did in 2006 and the Giants did in 2007. The formula works.

That said, is this the weekend that rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez will have to take on more responsibility in order to take the Jets to the Super Bowl? Because at some point, an opponent will be able to take away New York’s running game and force Sanchez to beat them through the air. And that opponent may be the Colts, who happen to be the Jets’ counterpart in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

Peyton Manning has had a fair amount of success against Rex Ryan-led defenses over the past couple years and if the Colts can build a lead, they may force the Jets to abandon the run in order to win. Granted, this might not happen until the second half or even in the fourth quarter, but the key is that it may happen.

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Monday night to serve as test for youngster Sanchez

Brady

For all intents and purposes, last week was an utter disaster for Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. He threw for only 138 yards, was intercepted three times and had a fumble recovered for a touchdown in the Jets’ 24-10 loss to the Saints in New Orleans.

Simply put, the kid looked like a rookie.

One of Sanchez’s many issues last week was that he tried to do too much when plays broke down. Instead of chucking the ball out of bounds when he was in trouble, he forced passes into coverage and paid for it. Credit the Saints for generating a consistent pass rush throughout the game, but Sanchez needs to learn how to get rid of the ball and live to fight for another play.

But the growing pains he suffered last week weren’t anything that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger didn’t go through early on in their development. In fact, Manning threw so many picks his rookie year that fans used to hold up signs mocking him to remember that his team wore blue jerseys and white helmets.

It’s what Sanchez does tonight against the Dolphins that I’m most interested in, because he was bound to suffer a let down eventually. He wasn’t going to walk through an entire season playing as well as he did the first couple games and not be exposed for the inexperienced player he is. In fact, it’s better that he got his first ass-kicking of his career early in the year rather than later on at a crucial moment in the season. He can learn from the beating he took last week in New Orleans.

Pundits like to marvel at how calm and cool Sanchez has looked so far leading the Jets’ offense. Well, let’s see how he reacts after suffering his first loss. Let’s see if he can learn from what happened last weekend and turn it into a positive for he and his team. He was eventually going to be exposed and he was, but now let’s see how he responds.

I think he’ll respond favorably. He has a great defense at his disposal, a solid running game, an excellent offensive line and now a No. 1 receiver in Braylon Edwards (when he’s not dropping passes that is). Sanchez doesn’t need to do too much; he needs to let the game come to him and rebound from his first defeat as a pro. That said, it’ll be interesting to see how he does playing in his first prime time game of his career.

Patriots have issues; Jets have new life under Ryan

Pundits warned after the Patriots barely beat the Bills on Monday night that it’s ignorant to come to conclusions after Week 1.

Well, it’s only Week 2 and I’ve already come to this conclusion: Bill Belichick’s team has issues. They’re still 1-1 after their 16-9 loss to the Jets on Sunday, but New England is a Leodis McKelvin kneel-down away from being 0-2 right now.

New England’s pass protection might be at the forefront of the Pats’ problems. The offensive line struggled to control the penetration that New York was able to generate throughout the game and the Pats were also unable to pick up a crucial 3rd and 1 at their own 38-yard line trailing 16-9. That’s a telltale sign that the horses up front for the Patriots aren’t getting the job done.

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