Florham Park, N.J.: There are plenty of Mark Sanchez apologists for the way he has played this season.  I’ll admit it,  I am one of them.

You’ve heard it ad nauseum: Sanchez doesn’t have the playmakers around him, the offensive line isn’t doing their job, the wide receivers aren’t getting open, etc.

But the excuse heard on television or radio through commentators and ex-quarterbacks alike is how can Sanchez get in a rhythm?  When Sanchez completes a pass and then runs to the sideline for a Tim Tebow run, how can he stay in a groove throwing the football?

You can look for excuses, but Sanchez has been poor protecting the football.

For example: After Sanchez brought the Jets to the Seattle red zone after hitting Jeremy Kerley for 43 yards, the Jets brought in Tebow, then put Sanchez back in on 3rd and six where he winds up throwing an interception right before the end zone.

These are where the Sanchez apologists come in. Ranting and raving that subbing a quarterback out when he completes a long pass play is moronic, let him stay in rhythm. His high turnover numbers are because of this, this happens all the time.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen as often as they would like to hear.

Sanchez has nine interceptions and eight fumbles this season.  Of those eight fumbles, four of them were lost.  Yes, there are examples like the Seattle game, or even the first game of the season against Buffalo, where Tebow entered for a play and Sanchez threw an interception three plays later.

But of Sanchez’s 17 combined ‘mistakes’ (INT + Fumbles), only four have come on drives where Tebow was entered for at least one play.

INT FUM LOST FUM Turnover/Plays after Tebow Entered
Bills 1 INT 1/3 plays
Dolphins 2 0 1 INT 2/1 play
49ers 1 1 1
Texans 2 0 2
Patriots 1 1 2
Dolphins 1 1 1
Seahawks 1 1 1 INT 1/5 plays. FUM 1/3 plays

What does this show? Sanchez is simply having a poor year.  It is easy to create convenient excuses—some of which do contribute to Sanchez’s and the team’s poor play this season.  But Sanchez apologists must realize that if the Jets make it back to their 2009, 2010 team form, an improved Sanchez has to be part of the puzzle as well.

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