The End for Sanchize?
With the Jets placing Mark Sanchez (shoulder) on the designated for return injured reserve Saturday, the tenure of the man who was once pegged to be New York’s franchise (hence “Sanchize”) quarterback for years to come, is all but over.
It wasn’t supposed to end like this.
Sanchez, the former USC standout, had the look and demeanor of a star player from the get-go as the Jets hoped for the second coming of Joe Namath.
But there were also warning signs though that this might not work out. Let’s review his ups and ultimate downs:
Jan. 15, 2009: After a standout junior season at USC, Sanchez announces he’s going pro. Moments later Trojans head coach Pete Carroll, sitting beside him at the press conference, announces he’s against the decision.
Carroll would prove to be prophetic, though it seemed like sour grapes at the time.
April 25, 2009: The Jets trade up with Cleveland for the fifth overall pick, where they take the 22-year-old Sanchez.
Sept. 13, 2009: Sanchez, after being largely untested in the preseason quarterback competition against Kellen Clemons, starts the opener against Houston, throwing for 272 yards in the win. Jets fans rejoice the start of a new era.
The team would go 9–7 with the rookie Sanchez starting 15 games while posting a 63.0 quarterback rating—somewhat expected low numbers for a rookie quarterback—with 12 TDs against 20 interceptions.
Jan. 24, 2010: In the AFC championship game at Indianapolis, Sanchez goes 17of 30 for 257 yards and two scores, though the Jets fall 30–17 to Peyton Manning’s Colts.
The performance caps an impressive three-game postseason for Sanchez who posts a 92.7 quarterback rating while leading the Jets to a pair of road playoff wins. Expectations are back at an all-time high.
Jan. 2, 2011: Sanchez starts and plays one series of the season finale against Buffalo—a 38–7 win. The game ends a somewhat uneven season for Sanchez, who posts an improved quarterback rating of 75.3, but still completes just 54.8 percent of his passes. All is forgotten as the Jets go 11–5.
Jan. 23, 2011: Sanchez and the Jets fall at Pittsburgh 24–19 in a thrilling AFC title game. Just like the previous season, the Jets win two road playoff games (including a 28–21 victory at New England) before falling, while Sanchez posts some great playoff numbers—a 95.5 quarterback rating with five TDs and one pick. Expectations for Sanchez, now heading into his third season are back at an all-time high. Surely great things are soon to come now in the regular season.
Dec. 24, 2011: Sanchez goes just 30 of 59 for just 258 yards, one TD, and a pair of interceptions as the Jets fall to their crosstown rival Giants 29–14 for their second straight loss and fall to 8–7. Frustration on the offense mounts as the team would lose the last three games of the season and miss the playoffs.
The blame seems to fall more on offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer though, who leaves after the season, for calling so many pass plays—which clearly isn’t the strength of the offense. Sanchez’s quarterback rating is his best ever—78.2—but still is well behind the league leaders.
Oct. 8, 2012: Sanchez, now in his fourth year as starter, goes 14 of 31 passing for 230 yards in a 23–17 home loss to Houston that drops the Jets to 2–3. The game follows a 34–0 drubbing by San Francisco and marks Sanchez’s fourth straight sub-50 percent completion performance—the first time a starting quarterback has done so since 1999. Boos now reign over the stadium every time the Jets fail to score.
Nov, 22, 2011: Sanchez’s infamous butt fumble (returned for a TD) marks an all-time low at the stadium as New England scores 35 points in the second quarter to rout the now 4–7 Jets, 49–19. Boos continue louder than ever, though Sanchez remains the starter.
Dec. 23, 2012: Head coach Rex Ryan finally benches Sanchez in favor of Greg McElroy though the Jets lose and a week later end the season at 6–10.
Sanchez finishes the season in the lower-echelon of quarterback ratings with a 66.9 and more picks (18) than TDs (13).
Aug. 24, 2013: Sanchez, in a quarterback battle with rookie Geno Smith, is injured in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the Giants, leaving Smith the job. Sanchez is put on IR weeks later. The Sanchez era would seem to be over.