By Ernie Palladino
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Thursday was a day for giving thanks. As unbelievable as it might sound, Mark Sanchez was thankful for his Jets career.
And he hopes it doesn’t end after this season?
Crazy? Maybe. You’d think after the way Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum, and now John Idzik have totally messed with him mentally and physically, he’d welcome a move to a nice, backup quarterback spot in some warm and friendly clime like Arizona or San Diego. Yet this week in a New Jersey soup kitchen, while serving people with somewhat bigger problems than public image, bad strategy, and a budget-oppressive multi-million contract, Sanchez proclaimed that he’s perfectly happy as a Jet.
Besides that, he’d like to stay one in the future.
Perhaps the prospects of working with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg tickled him. Or maybe he really believes Geno Smith won’t have the job after this year. But for Sanchez to think he’s going to be any part of the 2014 Jets is sheer fantasy.
There’s a reason Idzik drafted Smith in the second round. His thinking was to replace the mistake-prone Sanchez, be it this year or next. The fact that the Giants’ Marvin Austin took care of that in the fourth quarter of the preseason game simply made the public relations behind the move to Smith a bit easier to sell to the fan base.
Idzik never had, nor ever will, have any use for Sanchez, especially at his rates. Unloading him on someone else is no doubt a top-line item on Idzik’s offseason to-do list.
A search for a new quarterback, veteran or rookie, could land just below that depending on how Smith reacts the remainder of the season. With cries for Matt Simms growing every day, Smith’s continued downswing could force Idzik to admit a mistake and start from Square One again.
But Sanchez should know by now that going back to that first square in no way means tabbing a player who has been used and abused with Mark Brunell, Tim Tebow, and now a second-round rookie. Idzik will take Ed Reed’s advice to bring back Fireman Ed before he asks Sanchez for help. That’s just a general manager’s pride talking there. But it’s a strong pride, and it in no way fits in with Sanchez’ version of the future.
It’s not that Sanchez has immunized himself from the outside verbiage, either. He told the media he knows full well what’s being. It just doesn’t matter to him.
“I know I’ve heard a lot of stuff on the outside about me not being here,” Sanchez said. “But I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case in the building. So hopefully not. Hopefully, I’m a Jet. That’s what I am. That’s what I want to be.”
Why in the world he feels that way is beyond anybody’s guess. Idzik made his feelings known with his draft choice. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that Rex Ryan is looking for some tattoo cover-up wizard to change the No. 6 jersey that adorns his wife’s form on his bicep.
If Smith stinks it up again Sunday in Miami, if Ryan finally runs up the white flag on the season and goes to career-failure Simms, no one will even try to resurrect Sanchez.
Healthy or not, he’s just not in the plans. He can’t be.
It’s not as bad as it sounds. Backups make comparatively nice money in the NFL. They even get a chance to play, unless the guy they’re sitting behind is named Eli Manning. He never comes out.
Anyone else, though, and it’s not a bad way to make a living.
That’s Sanchez’ future.
Not New York. Not anymore.
Sanchez should just live with that, and be grateful he can still get a job somewhere.
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