Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Forget about the Past

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Forget about the Past

Article excerpt

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum was extolling the virtues of quarterback Mark Sanchez on Monday, and noted, "You cant ignore the fact he's won four road playoff games."

Well, maybe the Jets need to. Or at least put that fact out of their minds when evaluating Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and anybody else who had anything to do with the postseason success the Jets enjoyed the last two seasons.

The Jets' long, cold off-season has begun, and the best way for it to be a successful one is to evaluate the team, beginning with Sanchez and Schottenheimer.

The fact that Sanchez quarterbacked the Jets to four road playoff victories is nice, and speaks volumes about his physical and mental toughness. But in a win-now business, it shouldn't give him that much cachet. His erratic performance in the 8-8 campaign the Jets just concluded is a more important indicator of his progress.

But in the Jets' world, those playoff wins seem to matter a lot. Coach Rex Ryan's only punishment when Sanchez has struggled in games during the last two seasons has been to take away a practice snap or two. Ryan admitted publicly late in the season that he wouldn't remove Sanchez from a game for performance reasons.

That must change, and a good place to start would be in training camp. Tannenbaum was unequivocal Monday that Sanchez will be the starter next season. That's fine, but why can't there be some healthy competition for the job in August? Seventh-round pick Greg McElroy looked like a more-than-competent game manager during the preseason before suffering a thumb injury that sidelined him for the entire season.

As for Schottenheimer, no, it's not his fault that Sanchez stares down receivers and throws interceptions on check-down passes. But it's also true that Sanchez seems to have plateaued under Schottenheimer's watch. Maybe Sanchez needs to hear a new voice, a different coordinator who can do a better job of maximizing Sanchez's strengths (throwing on the run, throwing play-action passes) and minimizing his weaknesses (completing to secondary receivers, throwing accurate deep passes). …

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