NEW YORK (WFAN) — Mark Sanchez regressed in his third year with the Jets. Nothing new there.
The quarterback’s role in last season’s disappointing 8-8 season has been dissected over and over again, from his lackluster play to a then-fractured relationship with wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
And with high-profile backup Tim Tebow right behind him on the depth chart, the pressure is on Sanchez more than ever.
If the 25-year-old is to get back on track in 2012, according to Jets quarterback Matt Cavanaugh, he’ll have to cut back on his habit of “poor decision-making.”
“Even though it’s drawn up to be a touchdown, not every play has to be a touchdown,” Cavanaugh told the New York Daily News. “Not every play has to be a completion. Sometimes throwing it away is a good thing. Sometimes taking a sack is better than throwing an interception.”
New York could ask Sanchez to go with a more reined-in, protect-the-football approach. Cavanaugh admitted early success — Sanchez led the Jets to the AFC Championship game in each of his first two seasons — may have emboldened the quarterback a bit too much.
“The things that we talk about can’t be a ‘sometimes’ thing,” said Cavanaugh. “It’s got to be a mentality that you have all the time. It’s not something that you just turn on and off. If you’re freewheeling on your own a bunch of the time, you may be winning, but at some point it’s going to bite you in the rear end… I think he understands that now.”
As Sanchez fell apart in 2011, so did the Jets. He threw seven of his 18 interceptions in the final three games — all losses. Three of those picks came in the team’s disastrous season finale at Miami.
Sanchez said on WFAN last week that he was actually “glad” Week 17 played out the way it did, because it forced some introspection, a needed critical assessment from within himself and the organization.
“Let’s say I threw five touchdowns (in the last game) and everything was great, do we really solve anything?” he asked Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. “We didn’t make the playoffs, but is everything okay? Do we solve anything? I don’t think so. It was almost like a necessary evil.”
Do you think Sanchez is primed for a great — or at least, better — season? Sound off below!