I’ve been saying this for quite some time now, but it’s becoming more and more evident: The Jets defense can’t continue bailing out Mark Sanchez while he’s making these youthful mistakes. It worked for two years, and Sanchez got a pass, but in year three it seems that Sanchez has gotten comfortable being bailed out. While his completion percentage has gone up, the mistakes haven’t come down, he’s sitting at 10 INTs right now with 6 games to go, even though he will likely break his personal TD record (17, so far he has 14). The problem is that the defense can’t continue playing at the level it did for the last two years. In 2009 they allowed 8 passing TDs, and picked off opposing QBs 20 times, in 2010 they allowed 24 passing TDs and got 21 turnovers. So far this season they’re 7th in yards allowed per game but 21st in points allowed, and their offense is 20th in passing (217.9) and 25th in rushing (96.6), it doesn’t help that both LT and Shonn Green are hurt. So all that weight gets buried onto the shoulders of Sanchez, who just hasn’t risen up to that level of elite, or at least consistent QB play yet. He’s been hot one game, off the next, hot another game, absolutely useless the game after that, after 2 and a half seasons of playing and not missing any games, he should be more consistent than this.
The problem that’s going to arise is exactly what happened to the early 2000s Ravens once their luck ran out with Trent Dilfer, they couldn’t get any consistent QB play, or any type of vertical offense. They finally made the move for an aging Steve McNair and by then that mystique and power the defense had ran out, and they still lacked a threat at WR. They made it to the 2007 AFC Divisional playoff and were put out by Manning and the Colts (in an ugly game), McNair later retired and the search was on again when they finally got Flacco….but as we know, that defense is not what it used to be.
The Jets have to give Sanchez an ultimatum: start getting consistent before they look up and are out of the playoff picture, because even though they thrashed Buffalo two weeks ago, they’re 5-5, and Buffalo is on an inside track if they can take care of business with their schedule. If Sanchez can’t take that step by next season and become the least bit consistent, it may be time for Rex and company to part ways with their former first round pick.