Florham Park, N.J.– I know, trust me I know. Reading those words, arranged in that order seems extremely odd. Saying it out loud only makes it sound even more weird and writing them had half of my brain thinking about checking myself into a looney bin.
But I promise it will all makes sense, just walk with me.
Today at his press conference Rex Ryan was peppered with questions about Brett Favre. This was to be expected, with Favre returning to play the Jets a week from today, but one of the things Ryan said made my brain pause and contemplate all the ramifications of what Ryan had just said.
Imaging all the different possibilities and outcomes, instantly I was overwhelmed with the thought of how horrific things could have been here if just one little thing had gone differently.
What Ryan said was in response to a question about how Favre’s retirement from the Jets coincided with Ryan becoming the Jets coach.
When asked if Favre hadn’t retired would that mean the Jets wouldn’t have drafted Sanchez, Ryan said, “I think that’s a fair statement. I’d say it worked out for Brett and the Jets. We got a guy that is going to be a quarterback here for the next 10 years probably. Brett Favre’s a great player. Last year (with) those statistics, I kept looking at it saying, ‘That can’t be right.’ What did he throw? 30 some touchdowns and maybe 6 interceptions? The guy is a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback.
Yeah I’d say it worked out for the Jets. I realize it’s still very early in Sanchez’s career and he still has a lot to improve on and will not doubt sprinkle in a poor performance every now and then. I’m not rushing to anoint him as the next anything, he is Mark Sanchez and that’s all anyone should expect from him.
However I will point out that if Favre had stayed with the Jets, even assuming he would have put up the same type of numbers he did last year, the Jets still would have most likely lost in the AFC Championship game.
The Jets didn’t lose that game because of Sanchez, they lost because the couldn’t stop Peyton Manning and his arsenal of receivers. Meanwhile the Vikings lost the NFC Championship game on a classic Favre last drive interception.
Then imagine that the Jets had to deal with the offseason charade of the will he or won’t he come back drama story that is Favre. And even if you are still are holding out doubt that the Jets are better off with Sanchez than Favre for this year, you can’t possibly think the Jets would be in better shape for the future if they had Favre instead of Sanchez.
Yes, it appears Favre essentially used the Jets as a stepping stone to get himself to the Vikings just so he could stick it to Packers management. Yes, even the most loyal Favre apologists have to be getting sick of his, “retiring,” and un-retiring.
But in the end Jets fans should be grateful, even the ones who think he mailed in the last half of the season while he was here.
Because when Favre retired the Jets realized they had a great football team, all that was missing was a quarterback. So the first order of business was getting a quarterback and not mercenary, but a quarterback for now and the future.
Not everyone was sold that Sanchez would be the right choice for the Jets, and until a couple of weeks ago there were plenty of people still making that argument. Even Ryan himself admitted Sanchez wasn’t the first option they had in mind.
Ryan said, “At first we were thinking about the kid from Kansas State (Josh Freeman). Then, I got to see other film, we saw all those things, we did the workouts, then it became clear Sanchez was our guy.”
Any NFL fan knows a rookie quarterback is going to struggle his first year, but there were many games where Sanchez just looked like a lost puppy last year. As with most things in life, you make enough mistakes and they overshadow anything good you do.
Sanchez was ripped to shreds by a large portion of the media for his inconsistent play last year. Obviously in order to win a Super Bowl you can’t have your quarterback playing like that, but again the kid was just a rookie who only played one year of college ball.
Let’s play a game called, guess the quarterback? These are two different quarterbacks rookie stats.
Quarterback A) 16 games started, 56.7% passing, 26 TDs, 28 picks and three fumbles and a quarterback rating of 71.2.
Quarterback B) 15 games started, 53.8% passing, 12 TDs, 20 picks and 8 fumbles and a quarterback rating of 63.0.
Quarterback A is Peyton Manning’s rookie stats and quarterback B is Mark Sanchez. By no means am I saying Sanchez is on or near Peyton’s level or that he will even ever get there. The point is even the amazing Peyton (that’s not sarcasm the dude is unreal) struggled mightly his rookie year, he even threw eight more picks than Sanchez, he had a few less fumbling problems though.
We are only four games into the season, but Sanchez has most certainly looked like he has elevated his game by multiple levels since last season. Even taking into account the horrific display in the first game of the season Sanchez has put up extremely impressive numbers that have forced everyone to take notice.
Even ESPN’s own Skip Bayless was forced to admit there is something about this kid that makes him special.
Skip is notorious for sticking with his original statements, but after these last few weeks even he was forced to change his mind. The reason is the confidence and poise Sanchez has shown and the numbers don’t hurt either.
Through four games this year Sanchez has completed 60-103 passes on 58.3% for 711 yards, 8 TDs (just four less than all of last season) a quarterback rating of 105.3 and most importantly zero turnovers.
To put that into perspective with the rest of the league, let’s take a look at how his numbers stack up with the other quarterbacks.
Only three quarterbacks currently have a higher QB rating than Sanchez. I know QB ratings aren’t a perfect system to determine whose the best QB and the only thing I really understand about how they are calculated is that it’s complicated enough to confuse Stephen Hawking, but somehow it’s still the best we have to go on.
So having said that let’s take a look at the three who rank ahead of him. Number three is Vick, who has looked great when he played, not only did he get knocked out of the game yesterday, but he also only played eight quarters before yesterday and he played them against some really bad defenses. Number two, is some guy you might have heard of, he only has three Super Bowl rings, Tom Brady, and number one is exactly who you expect it to be, Peyton Manning.
Granted Sanchez has a much better running game for opposing defenses to worry about than anyone else in the top 10, but still even considering he doesn’t have to throw the ball as often as others, those are still very impressive numbers.
Numbers that few would of believed were possible before the season started, and even less would of believed after the Ravens game.
Still what is without a doubt his most impressive stat, the quarterback who led the league in turnovers last year is one of only two quarterbacks that have yet to turn the ball over this year, the other being Vick in his limited playing time.
Sanchez has had his share of miscues this year and got some lucky breaks that bailed him out of committing turnovers, but he had some of those last year too. The problem was he made so many of those mistakes that not all of them could be lucky harmless mistakes.
Sanchez will have some bad games this year, he will make more mistakes and he will eventually turn the ball over, all quarterbacks do no matter how good, but as long as he limits the mistakes he should have no problem continuing his recent success.
And let’s not forget starting this Monday night, not only does Sanchez get to go against Favre’s team on national television, but he also gets his best receiver back as Santonio Holmes is eligible to play again.
At the beginning of the season opposing defenses had to be thinking to focus their game plan on stopping the Jets running game, but now it appears they have to focus just as much attention on the guy wearing the number 6 jersey. Which makes the Jets a complete offense to go along with their complete defense, you know when Pace and Revis both return.
Now everyone is beginning to get a better understanding of why the Jets have been doing so much talking and their fans have Brett Favre to thank for making it all possible.
Three Observation Day 13,Jets To Bring Back Cb Darryl Roberts,Standouts From First Weekend Of Camp,Afc Preview,Sanchez Overcomes Early Struggles To Shine Late,Lb Jordan Jenkins Having Fun With Linebacker Competition,Is A Change At Running Back In Order,Season Preview This Could Get Ugly,Interchangeable Parts Can Give Jets Offense More Than Just Ground And Pound,The Long And Winding Tenure Of Bryan Thomas Plus Other Notes