New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had an impressive showing against the Buffalo Bills Sunday at MetLife Stadium, putting up nice numbers and leading the offense as the Jets put up a ton of points. Mark Sanchez showed growth both physically and mentally that goes beyond the numbers he posted and bodes well for the Jets this season.
Early on in New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez's career, he didn't grasp when it was appropriate to push the envelope and take a shot. As a result, he turned the ball over a ton and was seen as the one component holding the Jets back at times. The Jets featured a strong running game, but Mark Sanchez turnovers seemed to rear their ugly head at the worst possible times.
To combat this, Rex Ryan went to a system that had the Jets dictating to Mark Sanchez when it was a good time to take a chance at making a big play. It was a simple system that helped Sanchez weigh his options better in terms of the current game situation going into each play. He greatly reduced his turnovers in year two, showing that the system helped.
Last season, the Jets passed more than they ever have under Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez wasn't under the direction of the aforementioned system. He had the keys and was making the decisions. Mark Sanchez saw his turnover numbers skyrocket, but not because he was too aggressive. Instead, with the blame shouldered by his own decisions and the play calling of Brian Schottenheimer, the Jets rarely threw the ball downfield. That allowed defenses to play up towards the line of scrimmage and close down passing windows, making "safe" throws not so safe anymore.
On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, we saw Mark Sanchez taking shots down the field once again. It may sound counterintuitive, but being more aggressive will reduce his turnovers. He can't walk out and start slinging it all over the field with reckless abandon, but defenses have to be forced to respect the deep ball. That will open up throws underneath, instead of the tight windows that led to interceptions last season on short passes.
Beyond that, we also saw something very important on Sunday: Mark Sanchez dealing with adversity. No one wants to throw a pick on the first drive of the season, let alone on a foolish play like the attempted shovel pass on the run to Jeff Cumberland. Instead of pressing after that, Mark Sanchez bounced back and played smart. The very next drive the Jets put up a touchdown on a 12-yard pass to Jeremy Kerley.
It's year four for Mark Sanchez, and the early indications are that he is putting it all together. It's still early, but we have made the comparison between the early careers of Mark Sanchez and Joe Namath before. Joe Namath came into his own in his fourth season, and Mark Sanchez appears to be doing the same.
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