By Kristian Dyer
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Name the last time Sanchez stepped up and won a game for the Jets. Name one player he has made better through his play. How about one attribute that he possesses that is really outstanding? If those weren’t rhetorical questions, we would be here awhile.
The answer to all those questions is resounding silence. Here is a quarterback, four years removed from being the No. 5 pick in the NFL Draft, and he isn’t even an average quarterback in the league. He certainly is status quo from where he was in 2009, and an argument could be made that he has regressed.
Consider that all four quarterbacks taken in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft — Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden — all have a better QBR than Sanchez. That is four rookies all with better numbers than Sanchez. And if Weeden is performing more like a franchise quarterback than Sanchez, then the franchise is going in the wrong direction.
At some point the Jets need to pull the plug on this experiment. The only passes that Sanchez is completing with any consistency are to washed up actresses and models.
The mistake of drafting Sanchez could have been avoided, especially since the Jets packaged players and picks to move up in the draft to take him. They really wanted him and made the personnel moves to make it happen, and sometimes in this imperfect world mistakes happen. Every good NFL team has misses in the draft, but the good ones don’t let them be held back by them. Instead, they cut ties and move on.
The temptation for the Jets is to hold on to Sanchez and keep throwing him out there, hoping that games like last Sunday — where he threw three first-half interceptions — become the exception and not the norm. Management is hoping that someday, Sanchez will justify his top five selection in the draft and the five-year contract extension they threw his way this past March. In truth, there was no reason why the Jets had to extend Sanchez’s deal this past offseason, not after his marginal gains in 2011 and after he missed the playoffs for the first time in his career.
The Jets should have thrown the ball out of bounds this past offseason and seen how Sanchez would develop this year. Now they’re tied to him for four more years, and that is playing a part in who will start on Sunday in Jacksonville.
By no measure is Sanchez a better option than Tim Tebow — his proclaimed backup — or Greg McElroy, the second-year quarterback who replaced him last Sunday and led the Jets to a 7-6 win.
Now what the Jets are left with is hope that their mistake of drafting Sanchez so high and their more egregious error of giving him a long-term deal after a mediocre 2011 won’t come back to haunt them. They are left hoping that what Sanchez has shown so much of this season — from locking in on receivers to failing at his progression to an inability to throw the ball away – isn’t the player he really is. His history proves otherwise, but the Jets are hoping that is all a giant mirage.
It is fool’s gold for the team’s management to hope that the Sanchez they’ve seen this season — that they saw last season – isn’t the player who will show up on Sunday. The Jets are hedging their bets and betting against all the odds that Sanchez can show up not just this Sunday, but each and every Sunday and finally be that first-round pick.
To date, he hasn’t. And most likely, he won’t.
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo! Sports. He can be followed on Twitter here for insight, news and snarky comments.
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