BY CHAYIM TAUBER
Even Jets fans have to concede that this calamity of a season can’t be blamed on Brian Schottenheimer. Everyone else is certainly under the microscope as the Jets have solidified their place as the worst organization in all of sports.
The roster itself is a comedy of errors. Not a legitimate #1 running back on the roster. No receiver worth mentioning after Santonio Holmes, who was stripped of his ill-begotten captaincy at the beginning of this season. An offensive line with two high-profile names but poor in overall performance. An aging, overrated defense with linebackers too slow to cover tight ends or go sideline to sideline, two heavy hitting safeties that lack cover skills, and a pass-rush that (save for Muhammad Wilkerson) should be put on the back of a milk carton.
The defense has the aforementioned issues sure but they are also on the field more than nearly any other team in the league and are oftentimes defending a short field. The biggest detriment to the defense is the fact that there is not a single active NFL Quarterback on the roster.
Mark Sanchez has the worst QBR in the NFL outside of John Skelton and is having the sixth worst quarterbacking season since the QBR became a statistic. He has notched 25 turnovers compared to his 13 touchdowns and has displayed time and time again that he cannot be trusted to throw the ball. In a league that has grown progressively reliant on the pass, Rex Ryan insists on running the ball with a mediocre (at best) running game, primarily because his starting quarterback has flushed games with alarming regularity. Monday Night Football commentator described Mark Sanchez dropping back to pass as a “cringe-worthy experience for Jets fans.”
The list of teams with worse quarterback play is pretty short: just Arizona and Kansas City. And it’s likely that any other team’s QB than those three could have pulled out a victory in Monday night’s embarrassing lost to the Tennessee Titans, a loss which officially knocked the Jets out of playoff contention.
Other than Arizona and KC, there’s not a team in the league that would even feign interest in Sanchez as a player. When his god-awful $8.2 million guaranteed for next season is taken into account, Sanchez is the most unattractive player in the NFL. It’s not that he doesn’t have physical ability (I mean, it’s not like he’s Tebow), Sanchez’s issue is that he doesn’t possess the self -esteem, mental toughness, or intestinal fortitude to play the quarterback position in New York.
Jets fans assuaged their fears about their struggling quarterback the past couple of years by pointing out that the early years of his career were fairly similar to Eli Manning’s. Ignoring the blasphemy, the key difference between Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez is the difference in their makeup.
Eli Manning endured a barrage of unrelenting criticism from the New York media regarding his play and his inconsistency. The Giants brought in former #1 draft pick David Carr to back him up and Eli merely shrugged. Manning responded by beating Brett Favre in sub-zero degree weather at Lambeau, beating Tom Brady in two Super Bowls, and declaring himself “elite” in a national forum.
Sanchez did the opposite. He was able to ride on the coattails of a phenomenal defense and very good running game all the way to the conference finals two years in a row. “Don’t blow it kid,” seemed to be the Jets offensive philosophy.
Tim Tebow would not have won with this team, wouldn’t have even come close. Greg McIlroy wouldn’t have offered much in terms of quarterbacking either, he just wouldn’t have blown games the way Sanchez has. The fumble into Damien Woody’s backside, the interceptions thrown into triple coverage, there is no hyperbole involved in saying that Mark Sanchez’s season has been historically bad. The Jets offense is reminiscent of the old New Orleans ‘Aints, the expansion Bucaneers, and the Rod Marinelli Lions. It was so offensive that Jets icon Joe Namath ripped him in his weekly radio segment and Fireman Ed retired from being the Jets unofficial mascot.
It would take a miracle for the Jets to find a taker for Sanchez. That said, I know what half of New York is praying for this holiday season.