In 2009, NY Jets fan’s prayers were answered. Mark Sanchez, the first QB drafted by the Jets in the first round since Chad Pennington, became the face of new head coach Rex Ryan’s team.
Later that season, Sanchez and Ryan lead the Jets to their third ever AFC championship game – resulting in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It seemed as though the Jets bleak history was begin rewritten. But as is the case in so many stories, too much early success can ruin a potentially successful career.
After the 09-10 season, the Jets were selected as the team to be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks. This was the beginning of the end. Although the team was able to return to the AFC championship, another unsuccessful one against the Pittsburg Steelers, they went from a football team to a circus.
The Jets seemed more concerned about staying in the limelight than they did about building a sound team. Adding to the circus, they picked up free agent and fan-favorite – Tim Tebow. There was absolutely no reason to pick up a “starting QB” when they had a young QB who lead them to two championship games.
But like the Jets organization itself, Woody Johnson, the team owner, didn’t care so much about the game as they did the newspaper headlines.
The only thing added with the acquisition of Tebow was Sanchez’s doubt of himself. The “Sanchize,” albeit not the best QB, went from a confident young player to a laughing stock of the league. The infamous “butt-fumble” this past season solidified himself as Public Enemy #1 for Jets fans everywhere.
So, if Sanchez wasn’t the answer to Pennington and if Tebow wasn’t the avenger of Sanchez, will Geno Smith be the savior for the Jets organization?
The Jets have a history of wanting to simply draft or pick up a player simply because they are the “it” player of the day. But with such doubt at the QB position, perhaps more thought went into this pick that expected.
The former West Virginia starter is an impressive athlete to say the least. In his senior season alone, he became WVU’s all-time leader in completions and touchdown passes, as well as setting the school’s consecutive pass completion record (21) later that year.
The Jets were one of the first teams to run the “wildcat” offense. And since Brad Smith’s departure, they have not had a QB to successfully run it. Perhaps Geno, who ran a 4.7 40-yard-dash, can fill this void.
Whatever the formula has been for the Jets offense as of late has not been working. They have abandoned a run-heavy offense with short, precise passing from an adequate QB, something that had clear success bringing them to two consecutive championship games.
Their offense now can only be describes as a train-wreck. They try to make their QB into something he’s not. They rarely run the ball. And they made centered around Tebow, instead of simply running the wildcat.
To think that Geno isn’t a serious contender for the starting position is foolish. It is time for the “Sanchize” to step-down. Smith has shown he is a winner in college. The Jets need to play him in a system that will allow him to flourish as a winner in the NFL.