Mark Sanchez’s Present Looking Equally Unstable As His Future


Mark Sanchez's Present Looking Equally Unstable As His Future There were a lot of weird moments on Hard Knocks this past summer.

There was general manager Mike Tannenbaum's celebration of Santonio Holmes because the receiver made a catch in practice … with no pads on. There was Rex Ryan's plea for snacktime. There was special teams coach Mike Westhoff cursing the Redskins, a team with which the Jets have no real rivalry. There was, obviously, a lot.

But the weirdest moment of all might have been when Ryan said that Mark Sanchez was the clear-cut No. 1 guy at the quarterback position.

Was it really all that clear-cut?

Sanchez had just completed a fairly atrocious rookie campaign in which he threw 20 picks. The team won, yes, but it was as much in spite of Sanchez's presence as it was because of Sanchez's presence.

Now, in mid-December of 2010, 28 games into Sanchez's career, the head coach is finally starting to see that perhaps Sanchez is not the Sanchize. He admitted after Sunday's loss that he considered taking Sanchez out of the game … in favor of 40-year-old Mark Brunell. Ultimately, though, Ryan said he figured Sanchez gave his team the best chance to win.

What made him feel that way is anyone's guess. He's now failed to lead the Jets to a touchdown on two straight weeks. Yes, you can say his pass to Santonio Holmes was as perfect as perfect gets, but his goal-line interception last week in New England was so bad that it should have counted as two. He's completed just 44 percent of his passes the last two weeks, throwing no touchdowns and four interceptions.

In fact, in eight career games in December in January, Sanchez is just 120-for-227 (52.9 percent) for an average of 157.56 yards per game and a total of six touchdowns and six interceptions. He's also fumbled six times, turning it over just once. Whether that's because of the increasing pressure in the final month of the season and the playoffs or the weather turning cold and windy or a combination of both doesn't matter. What matters is the kid isn't getting it done.

It should be enough reason for some panic in New York — especially considering Sanchez's obvious struggles with confidence.

"I can't play like that," Sanchez said after Sunday's loss. "I can't be a roller coaster."

He might be saying it, but a roller coaster seems to be the only thing that Sanchez can successfully be.

Even Joe Namath doesn't like what he sees, as the most famous Jets quarterback in history took to Twitter to declare that "Mark is beginning to scare me."

What Ryan and Namath are seeing is what most people have been seeing for two years. Sanchez can make a great pass from time to time, but you have to wonder about his makeup. You have to wonder if he can handle playing in cold weather. You have to wonder if he's the right man to lead this team to a Super Bowl.

If he's not, you have to make a change. This team made it very clear from the beginning of the season that there was just one goal, and that was winning it all. If Sanchez can't rise up in a key divisional battle on national television, and if he falls flat on his face in a much less meaningful game just six days later, does he have what it takes to win with all the marbles on the line?

That's a question the Jets, from the top of the organization to the bottom (where Sal Alosi currently resides), have to be asking themselves on Monday morning.

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