Defending Mark Sanchez’s Performance
3,663 yards, 24 TDs, 13 INTs, 56.1 completion percentage (296 comp., 528 attempts)
Is playing quarterback in the New York market the most difficult job in professional sports? Possibly. For starters, until a quarterback wins a championship, he is never good enough. Any quarterback who has ever played in New York already knows that.
And if a quarterback has won? Criticism is still never more than one bad game away. Just ask Eli Manning, Phil Simms or Joe Namath.
But let’s get back to Sanchez. If someone had told Jets fans at the beginning of this season that he would finish 2011 with the numbers listed above, would they have signed up for it? My guess is yes. Despite the fact that Sanchez absorbed a heavy beating during the first few games — his 14 sacks are tied for the 9th most in the N.F.L. — the mostly impressive numbers listed above represent the pace Sanchez is setting.
Through the Jets’ first six games, Sanchez has already thrown for 1,372 yards, with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
And don’t forget the 3-3 Jets have already played games at New England, where the Patriots have won 20 consecutive regular-season home games, and at Baltimore, which is 22-5 since John Harbaugh became coach in 2008.
Let’s take a closer look.
Want to talk about Sanchez’s 9 touchdown passes so far? If so, you should know that it ranks tied for eight in the N.F.L., with Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Philadelphia’s Michael Vick and Tennessee’s Matt Hasselbeck. Eighth out of 32 teams? If you do the math, that ranks in the top quarter of the league.
And want to talk of Sanchez’s 5 interceptions in 198 attempts? According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, Sanchez’s interception percentage of 2.5 ranks 12th in the N.F.L. And of the 12 quarterbacks who have more pass attempts, only four — Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Chicago’s Jay Cutler and Cleveland’s Colt McCoy — have thrown fewer than Sanchez’s five interceptions.
In another key statistic, Sanchez is tied for 11th (with Roethlisberger) with 20 completions of 20 or more yards.
Sanchez’s biggest and most notable problems have come early in games. The Jets haven’t had a first down in the first quarter since their game at Oakland in Week 3, which was also when they scored their last first-quarter touchdown.
That needs to change for the Jets to continue to win games.
But Sanchez’s performance has been better than he is being given credit for.
And on the Baltimore game:
I’d hesitate to give you an average because it’s such an inaccurate science. However, I what I could. I started the clock when the ball was snapped and stopped it when either (a) the ball was thrown or ( pressure caused Sanchez to either get hit, get flushed from the pocket or step up to avoid it.
The number of plays in the whole game where Sanchez had more than 2.5 seconds in the pocket before throwing the ball or being pressured? Zero. Yes, none. In fact, he had less than two seconds on 23 of 38 plays and less than 1.5 seconds on nine.