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EA Q&A: If No QB Progress, Questions will Persist

Posted Nov 13, 2012

The topic at hand is quarterbacks, so let’s get this baby started.

Aurelio M.
Mexico City, Mexico
Q:
Is this the end of Mark Sanchez?  What´s next?  What about Tebow?

Bryan W.
Vancouver, Canada
Q:
I like Sanchez, but at what point does (Coach Ryan) not continue to stick with him?  

John
Lake Worth, FL

I think it's about time to play Tebow. Sanchez cannot handle the game under pressure.

Peter G.
Long Island, New York

Q: At this point, what is the harm in letting (Greg) McElroy play?  You need to know what you have in him. Look at a guy like Alex Smith — very smart and manages the game right. Why not give him a chance?

EA: Mark Sanchez will start for the Jets Sunday against the Rams in St. Louis.   While the problems on offense are more than just Sanchez, he is the key figure in getting this thing turned around.  If he fails to improve over the next game or so, questions will persist.  This Rams team might be rebuilding on Jeff Fisher, but they have talent and they are 3-1 at home in 2012. 

The Jets basically have three options at quarterback:

1.  Stay the Course: Start Sanchez and incorporate the Tebow package into each game.  Rex Ryan continues to express his faith in No. 6 and says the problems on offense are a lot more than one player, mentioning the lack of separation on routes, drops, protection issues, etc…

“I feel like we’re close,” Sanchez said.  “I know our guys can catch the ball and I know we’ve had a couple of miscues there. I know we’re better than we’ve been playing and I know I can make better decisions than that one on the goal line. So all those things, once they hit and they go right, this thing turns so quick — it’ll make your head spin.”

The Jets are going to give Sanchez every opportunity to right the ship and they should.

2.  Tebow Time: The organization never brought Tim Tebow here to be the starting quarterback.  In a span of a couple of weeks back in March, the Jets signed Sanchez to a contract extension, added former Lions backup Drew Stanton (who was eventually shipped to Indianapolis) in free agency and then completed a trade for Tebow. 

“Mark Sanchez is, has been and will be our starting quarterback,” Mr. T. said after acquiring Tebow  from Denver for essentially a fourth-round draft selection.

Coach Ryan has always been a big fan of the Wildcat attack and the Jets clearly believed he would help make the offense more diverse and dynamic.  It hasn’t worked out as they had envisioned last spring, but seven games remain.

If the Jets handed the offensive reins to Tebow, is that a long-term solution?  Would Sanchez possibly benefit from sitting?  What kind of offense would you run? 

3. Mac Moment: McElroy has not played a single snap in an NFL game.  During the week, he operates the scout team offense.  The former Alabama standout is a heady ballplayer and he has talent, but you aren’t likely to see him get playing time this year barring major injury.  I do think he’ll eventually get his chance — here or elsewhere — to compete for playing time.

Is it possible?  Yes, but the least likely of the three.

Tom C.
Brooklyn, NY

Sanchez has been our starter for 4 years, and has exhibited decreased production at QB position for the past 2 seasons (particularly this season) when he should be improving.   At what point should the NY Jets organization move on?

EA: With seven games remaining,  They will give Sanchez every opportunity to get the ball rolling forward. 

If you are taking an honest look at Sanchez, you have to mention that he is the fifth QB in the Super Bowl era to win 30 games in his first three NFL seasons and he has guided the Jets to 11 fourth-quarter comeback or TO victories (seven coming on the road). 

Production is down in 2012, but Sanchez did a lot of good in 2011.  He set personal bests with a 56.7 completion percentage, 3,474 yards passing and 26 TDs — which tied for the second highest total in franchise history.  Sanchez also ran for 6 touchdowns as the Jets averaged 23.6 points per game and were the NFL’s most efficient team inside the Red Zone.

And the comparisons between Sanchez and Eli Manning are natural since both players experienced difficulties early in their careers.  But in Manning’s fourth season (the one that eventually ended with his first championship), the Giants were 6-3 after nine games and Manning was completing 59 percent of his passes with 14 TDs and 11 INTs. 

Alex C.
Aberdeen, NJ

Q: Why won’t Rex stop feeding the flame and either show the fanbase that Tebow can or can’t play at this level?  Was it a PR scheme gone wrong due to Mark not playing up to his potential and now it’s exposed?

EA: The Jets acquired Tim Tebow because they wanted to add a talented football player to the roster.  While Tebow has had his moments this season, he hasn’t had the offensive impact many envisioned back in the offseason.  If the Jets don’t have a false start at the Seattle 1 on Sunday, I think No. 15 is celebrating his first TD in Green & White and maybe it’s a different game.

They brought Tebow here to be a package player and he has been exactly that, carrying 27 times for 92 yards and completing five of six for 40 yards.  It is just inaccurate to say the Jets brought Tebow here to challenge Sanchez for the starting job.

Dan
The third-and-goal from the 1-yard line with Tebow in led to a false start. Back to the 6 and now Sanchez throws a pick.

The long completion to Keller (a 32-yard gain in the third quarter with the Jets trailing 21-7) and then pull Sanchez.   Bring in Tebow and the next Sanchez play it is a sack, fumble and game over.

A quarterback is not a safety or a lineman or a wideout — the QB needs to be on the field every play to stay in the rhythm and tempo of the game and stay in touch with his players that he is leading and understanding the flow of the defense.

Either start Tebow and sit Sanchez or start Sanchez and sit Tebow. The Jets are certainly not starting Tebow and working in Sanchez for a few plays to undermine Tebow.

EA: Dan, those are all legitimate points about the quarterback position.   

When the Jets say they are close on offense, they are talking about plays like the Sanchez to Keller 32-yarder in the fourth quarter.  That was a great play call and the execution was flawless.   Sanchez faked a handoff to Greene after Keller went into motion, the line gave the QB time to throw and Sanchez showed his athletic ability by stepping up and moving left before completing a toss to a wide open Keller up the left sideline.  That is Sanchez at his best — play action and on the move.

After moving into Seattle territory, Tebow entered the game on first down and threw incomplete to Jeremy Kerley.  But the Jets got another first down as ‘Hawks DT Red Byrant was called for holding.  Sanchez re-entered and the Jets picked up a healthy seven yards on a toss to Shonn Greene.  Greene picked up yet another first down as he picked up three when the Jets went to a heavy package with Jason Smith

The dagger came on first-and-10 from the SEA 32.  A Jets backed missed a blocking assignment and LCB Richard Sherman came free on a blitz.  The defender knocked the ball loose and Jason Jones recovered, and that was all she wrote.  As Sanchez says, he has to eat the ball instead of trying to do too much.  But you have to think somebody is open there if that block is picked up.  Football is a team game and the pieces all work together.

Sanchez is likely to remain the guy and Tebow is going to continue to be a package player. 

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