Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 4/25/13

Mass turnovers, double-digit losses, and a certain (but unforgettable) buttfumble shredded any remaining positives vibes from Mark Sanchez's back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances.

Bill Cowher, however, isn't ready to throw in the towel on the Jets' floundering quarterback.

The former Steelers coach and current CBS analyst explained to the Star-Ledger that Sanchez is not solely to blame for the team's recent offensive failures.

“There has been so much transition going on there,” Cowher said. “Now he has another new coordinator. Another new offensive system. The only thing I will says is (the Jets) went to two AFC Championship Games with Mark Sanchez in his first couple of years.

“Granted, he was surrounded by a very good supporting cast, a very good defense, a good running game. But I don’t think it’s fair to throw this all on him when you had a banged-up offensive line, you had no skill position players.”

Over the last two seasons, Sanchez has been sacked 73 times. Much of that is on him for not unloading the football, but some blame also goes to the Jets' lackluster skill-position players, many of whom struggle to get open or, for that matter, stay healthy.

“I don’t know where (Sanchez) is (as a player) but I think to say what he is based on last year’s performance is unfair,” said Cowher. “(Dustin) Keller wasn’t there early in the year. Santonio Holmes wasn’t there. They were playing with maybe a third and fourth receiver as their best receiver.

“If they can get Santonio Holmes back and get a few good skill position players around him, let’s see what he can do. Again, he proved that when he has had a supporting cast, he took them to two AFC Championship games. I’m not saying he’s that type of quarterback, but those are the facts.”

At one point last season, Sanchez's starting receivers incomprehensibly were journeymen Jason Hill and Chaz Schillens. New York's talent has severely deteriorated over the last few years, and it's hit Sanchez the hardest. But that's as far as the excuses go; Sanchez simply hasn't -- and likely can't -- cut it as an NFL starting signal-caller.

Entering a make-or-break 2013 campaign in a new system under coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Sanchez has one final chance to prove he's the man. Otherwise, Cowher, like so many others who've defended Sanchez, simply wasted his breath.

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