Originally written September 24, 2012 on The Sports Rocker:
For once, I'm going to defend Mark Sanchez. Even though he may be accurate only about 51% of the time, it's time we started focusing on the Jets problems with a larger microscope. He is not the problem.


For once, let's talk about the Jets running game. It's among the worst in the NFL. Shonn Greene, their starting running back for the last few seasons, wouldn't even make it onto most fantasy rosters as a bench player. Last season, Greene averaged a meager 65 yards per game. That is a career high. This season, after three games, Greene is trudging along at 52.3. Once again, the Jets are averaging less than 100 yards per game, barely, at 98.7. For Rex Ryan, who believes in smash-mouth football (when he's not running it), this has to be a thorn in his side. Last year, the Jets were in the bottom half of the league with 105.8 yards per game. That's a severe drop off from the 2010 season where they were fourth with 148.

Not a GQ cover shot.And then there is the ridiculousness of the Jets passing game. For a few plays on their opening drive (among others) Tebow was lined up at wide receiver. Did he catch a pass? No. Was one thrown to him? Well, at least one in the third quarter, since it hit him in the helmet. You can thank former Dolphins head coach, Tony "Wild Cat" Sparano for the imbecilic formations. If you're the defensive coordinator, and you see Tebow lined up in the slot, you simply put a linebacker on him. But with the wacky formations and play calling, can Sanchez actually get into a passing rhythm? Hardly. His third pass attempt was intercepted. He didn't complete a pass to an actual wide receiver until 8:10 left in the 2nd quarter when he finally hooked up with Santonio Holmes for a 12-yard gain. That was also his longest completion of the game to that point.

If you want to put your maligned quarterback in the best position possible to succeed, you don't hire an offensive coordinator whose claim to fame is developing an offense where the running back can take a direct snap and throw the ball. Sparano had only one winning season in his four seasons as head coach in Miami. And I dare say Sparano is an offensive genius since the Dolphins finished in the lower half in points-per-game during his tenure.

Amazingly, the Jets had 388 yards of total offense. And the Dolphins, you know, the same Dolphins with the rookie quarterback, recorded 381. They ran the ball down the Jets throats for 185 yards. After three games, the Jets are giving up 25 points per game and are allowing 148 rushing yards, 28th in the league. You just can't win games giving up that kind of yardage.

Sanchez is the quarterback, and the blame will fall on his shoulders because he's the face of the franchise. But should it? Absolutely not. The Jets are a mess from top to bottom. They have talented personnel, but there are too many problems with the Jets right now for only one person to receive all the criticism.
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