Posts Tagged ‘Mark Sanchez’

Writing on the wall as Mark Sanchez hits IR

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Florham Park, NJ – The moment the Jets drafted Geno Smith, the clock started on Mark Sanchez’s time left in green and white.

Late last night, his time ran out – unofficially, at least.

The Jets announced late Tuesday that Sanchez underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury he sustained in the third quarter of a preseason game against the New York Giants.

The surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews, will sideline Sanchez for the remainder of the season, keeping him out of sight and out of mind on injured reserve.

Mark Sanchez had season-ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday, effectively ending his tenure with the Jets.

“After over seven weeks of hard work and intense rehab, I’ve been advised by Dr. Andrews and other doctors that my shoulder injury clearly needs to be addressed surgically,” said Sanchez in a statement.

The announcement, coming on the heels of Smith’s impressive comeback victory on Monday Night Football, signals a changing of guard at quarterback in New York.

Technically, Sanchez is still under contract for three more years but with his money no longer guaranteed coupled with the emergence of Smith, the Jets won’t bother keeping their former top-5 pick past his $2 million roster bonus, which comes due in March.

On Wednesday, head coach Rex Ryan was keeping to the company line regarding his former starting quarterback, but it was clear Sanchez’s status with the team is anything but certain.

“I never want to lose a player, ever. But I also understand there’s a business side to every decision,” said Ryan, naming Brandon Moore, Dustin Keller and Shonn Greene as players the team has had to let walk during his tenure as head coach.

“I recognize there are certain things that happen in this league and that’s the unfortunate part as a football coach,” he said.

When pressed even further about Sanchez’s future with the team, Ryan waffled.

“Again, will he come back? He’s under contract, so, you guys know more about it than I do. You look at it, he’s under contract, so fine,” he said.

But Ryan spoke volumes about the team’s future at quarterback in how he started his press conference, not how he ended it.

“First off, I’m sure you guys know,” Ryan said as he got to the podium, the confirmation of Sanchez’s surgery almost certainly on its way.

“Geno Smith was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week,” he finished. ”Obviously we’re proud of him.”

It wasn’t until seven minutes into the press conference that Ryan was prompted to respond to the Sanchez news, and by the time the questions had ceased you could tell he was glad.

“We’re acting like he’s dead,” Ryan joked, breaking the tension. “Sanchez is going to be 100 percent healthy, it’s not like his career is over. He’s going to play again.”

Just not for the New York Jets.


Great expectations: Jets are silencing doubters

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Florham Park, NJ – The Jets were a bad football team a year ago.

Like inventing a new word for bad, bad.

They were 28th in the league in offense, 30th in passing and their usually dominant defense sprung leaks, ranking 26th against the run.

Football Outsiders ranked the Jets 27th in total DVOA and they missed the playoffs for the second straight time in the Rex Ryan era.

But that was last season, and like a decaying zombie corpse that just won’t die (no matter how many times you beat it over the head with a shovel), the Jets are finding out that the stench of the buttfumble will be hard to outrun.

“A lot has been said about this football team,” Ryan said before the season started. “There are a lot of non-believers out there.”

Rex Ryan is quietly proving why the Jets are far from the worst team in the league.

And there still are. But after a surprising 2-1 start, it’s time to entertain the possibility that the Jets are, well, a decent football team.

On Thursday, Ryan was confronted with that possibility when asked why he hasn’t chosen to revel in the team’s recent success.

“We’ll see,” he said with a smirk and a nod of his head, the old defiant Rex bubbling up to the surface. “There’s a long season ahead. I think I know what it’s going to look like but we’ll see.”

Yes, it’s a small sample size and, yes, one of those wins came on a last minute penalty and the other in spite of a team-record 20 penalties, but the Jets look vastly improved in several key areas, most notably on the defensive line and at quarterback.

A season ago, nose tackle Sione Pouha struggled with a back injury and the run defense suffered along with him – not so this season. In three games, the Jets defensive line is second best in all of football according to Football Outsiders, allowing an average of 79 rushing yards per game, which includes a 59-yard run by Bills running back Fred Jackson on a missed tackle.

Otherwise, the Jets have been dominate against the run, with undrafted nose tackle Damon Harrison being an impressive surprise amongst first round talent in Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Sheldon Richardson.

Despite his one solo tackle against the Bills, “Snacks” was moving blockers all over the place, grading out as one of the top defensive tackles in the league by Pro Football Focus.

Then there’s Eugene Smith, who despite seven rookie-type turnovers, has done just enough to get the Jets offense off the ground.

Last season, Mark Sanchez was the worst quarterback in the league. And not like the hyperbolic, talk radio, Skip Bayless kind of  “worst.” Literally, he was the worst quarterback in the league, ranking 36th in total QBR behind the likes of Brandon Weeden, Blaine Gabbert and Matt Cassel.

Think about that. Worse than Brandon Weeden.

Sure, Geno has benefited from the return of Santonio Holmes, an improved offensive line and Marty Mornhinweg’s system, but his QBR through three games is almost double that of Sanchez’s and is currently better than Robert Griffin III, Eli Manning and Sam Bradford.

It’s clear now, Smith is a big upgrade over Sanchez. He has the ability to extend plays and take shots downfield. The 331 pass yards he hurled against the Bills didn’t seem like a fluke and if he continues to improve the offense could be miles better than a year ago – let’s face it, it already is.

The Jets know what’s been said about them, from circus-talk to 32nd in the power rankings and dreams of Jadeveon Clowney.

“We knew that people weren’t going to give us much of a chance,” said Leger Douzable, another surprising member of that improved defensive front. “We want for people to continue to not give us a chance because we love proving people wrong.”

Well, the Jets might not be sneaking up on people for much longer. Football Outsiders has their current mean win total at 8.7 after 50,000 simulations, meaning the Jets are shockingly projected to be in the 8-9 win range – within playoff striking distance.

Currently, Football Outsiders has the Jets playoff probability at 35 percent (which is up 14.7 percent from last week) and while that may not be realistic, it’s clear now, and for the foreseeable future, that the Jets are no longer a laughing stock.

“People are starting to talk about us,” said Douzable. “But we don’t want to listen to that we just want to get better.”

Preview: Jets (1-1) vs. Buffalo Bills (1-1)

Friday, September 20th, 2013

FLORHAM PARK, NJ – After a solid preseason debut, Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel got a congratulatory text message from a childhood friend and fellow rookie – Geno Smith.

Santonio Holmes' message to the other Jets receivers.."Catch the ball!" (JetsInsider.com Photo)

The two young starters met at football camp in high school and stayed in touch throughout college and during the draft process, where they were the top two quarterbacks taken.

On Sunday, they will be competitors and division rivals, as the Bills (1-1) travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the Jets (1-1) in a pivotal early season matchup.

“We’ll both be competing against each other,” said Manuel. “I want to win just as bad as he does.”

The two times the Jets and Buffalo Bills faced off last season were something of a Jekyll and Hyde story for the guys in green.

In bookending games against Buffalo, Week 1 and Week 17, Mark Sanchez threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-28 win, but after 14 games that included the buttfumble and a brief benching, he closed the season with a two fumble, one interception performance in a 28-9 loss.

WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, 4:25 p.m. EST (TV – CBS, Radio – ESPN NY, 98.7 FM)

WHERE: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

INJURY REPORT (as of Thursday):

Jets: Kendrick Ellis (back) limited, Willie Colon (knee) full practice, Oday Aboushi (knee) limited, Quinton Coples (ankle) limited, Antonio Cromartie (hip) full practice, Clyde Gates (knee) full practice, Stephen Hill (knee) full practice, Santonio Holmes (foot) did not practice, Austin Howard (ribs) full practice, Jeremy Kerley (concussion) full practice, Garrett McIntyre (knee) full practice, Bilal Powell (illness) full practice, Sheldon Richardson (shoulder) limited, Geno Smith (ankle) full practice,Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) full practice, Kellen Winslow (knee) limited

Bills: Doug Legursky (knee) limited, Jairus Byrd (foot) limited, Ron Brooks (foot) did not practice, Stephon Gilmore (wrist) did not practice, Marquise Goodwin (hand) did not practice, Dustin Hopkins (right groin) did not practice

WHAT TO WHAT FOR:

Fantasy stoppers: In consecutive weeks, the Jets defense shut down two notable fantasy running backs in Doug Martin (65 yards) and Steven Ridley (40 yards). Next up: CJ Spiller. In two games this season, Spiller has averaged 4.4 yards a carry, including a 104 yard performance against an improved Carolina front seven. The Jets defense, however, has allowed an average of 59.5 rushing yards per game and is ranked third in the league by Football Outsiders based on Value Over Average. Football Outsiders also ranked the defensive line as fourth best and second-year defensive tackle Damon Harrison has the second best run stop percentage in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. Let’s see if the Jets can make fantasy owners unhappy for a third week in a row.

Rex vs. the Rook: On Wednesday, Ryan confirmed that the Jets were very impressed with EJ Manuel before the draft in April but don’t expect him to go easy on the rookie once the game starts. “Maybe a little bit,” Ryan said, playing coy when asked if he was excited to face a rookie. “I’d much rather face a rookie quarterback than Tom Brady.” After facing Brady a week ago, look for Rex to really try and create problems for the inexperienced Manuel.

Old ties: If you happen to glance at the Bills sideline on Sunday you might see a familiar face in former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. He left for Buffalo in the off season and has undoubtedly been giving Bills players tips wherever he can, not to mention the fact that he essentially runs the same defense as Ryan. “It’s out of the same book,” Ryan said on Wednesday, referring to similarities between Pettine’s defense and his own. Ryan also took some playful shots at his friend and former colleague: “Obviously, I’ll look better than Pettite,” he said. “In fact, I might weigh less than him now. I’m just throwing it out there.”

X-Factor:

Catch the ball: The performance of the Jets pass catchers might as well be the x-factor for the rest of the season. The defense will always be competitive, the offensive line and running game look to be improved and, as a rookie, Smith will have his ups and downs. But the team won’t win very many games if the receivers can’t hold on to the ball. Against the Patriots, they dropped six passes, including a touchdown. When asked if he had any pointers for the Jets wide receivers, Santonio Holmes said, “Yeah, catch the ball.”

Prediction: The defense will do enough to contain Spiller and Manuel and the return of Jeremy Kerley (concussion) will help Geno and the Jets offense to edge out a win against the Bills, 23-17.

Rex Ryan of old makes an unexpected appearance

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Rex Ryan has been a shell of his former self as of late, but on Wednesday a glimmer of the old Rex shot through -- if only for a second.

Florham Park, NJ – When Rex Ryan rolled into town four seasons ago, he was gruff and unapologetic. He had Super Bowl aspirations, a highly touted rookie quarterback and a top-notch defense.

But as the bombast grew stale and the playoff returns diminished so did Ryan (literally and figuratively).

The old Rex, presumed dead, is now a person of the past, whittled away by unfulfilled guarantees, questionable coaching calls and an upper management muzzle. The man who stood at the podium on his first day, proclaiming he wasn’t going to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings, neutered, offering up only misdirections and disguised coverages.

So, it’s only fitting that on the day Ryan announced the starting of his second rookie quarterback in five seasons, he got back to his roots — if only for a second.

“A lot has been said about this football team,” he said before returning to his now patented coach speak. “There are a lot of non-believers out there.”

In that moment, he sounded confident, and although he wouldn’t say much else, you couldn’t help but sense a “you’ll see, you’ll all see” attitude pushing its way to the surface.

“We’re not hiding,” he said. “We’ll see what kind of team we have.”

Whether or not Ryan has the talent to prove the critics wrong is another story, however.

On Wednesday, the Jets announced that Geno Smith will indeed be the starter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite underperforming in his only extended preseason action. Mark Sanchez is still injured after being left in during the fourth quarter of preseason game. He walked into the locker room on Wednesday, only to turn around and not be seen again.

The entire Jets brain trust also made an appearance with both Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik stressing the mantra of “competition.”

“The [quarterback] competition is not finished … The competition is ongoing,” said Johnson, making the cloud of confusion surrounding the team’s most important position all the more murky.

Idzik clarified by saying that the competition at every position is ongoing, which sounds more like an escape plan should things go wrong with Geno than a team-wide motivational tactic.

Still, the team seems to have a chip on it’s shoulder. Even Santonio Holmes, who hasn’t been optimistic about his return to the line-up, broke through his rehearsed routine when asked if the team is being underestimated.

“Right now in the power rankings, we’re ranking No. 32 in the NFL,” he said, referring to ESPN’s weekly rankings. “I think we probably couldn’t be happier than being off the radar of everybody.”

“We have a focus that’s on the team not on what everybody else thinks this team should be. We have a focus and a goal in mind to have the best 53 guys on this roster and go on and win with these guys that we have.”

As Holmes does, Ryan knows now more than ever what the non-believers are saying about his commitment to the team and his coaching ability. And no matter how hard  Idzik, or Ryan himself has tried to suppress it, the old Rex showed up on Wednesday.

As a glimmer of man not ready to go down without a fight.

Broadway bound: Jets take Geno Smith

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

New York, NY – After falling out of the first round, former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith almost packed it up and went home for Round 2. Almost.

Now, he’s in New York City to stay.

With the seventh pick in the second round (39th overall) the New York Jets took Smith to add to an all ready crowded quarterback situation that still includes Mark Sanchez, David Garrard, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy.

Smith was projected as the top quarterback in the draft, a sure-fire first round pick, who could go as high as fourth overall to Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kelly passed (twice, actually). So did the Arizona Cardinals. The Buffalo Bills, who also needed a quarterback, made the surprising decision to trade down and take Florida State QB EJ Manuel 16th overall.

Enter, general manger John Idzik and step aside, Mark Sanchez.

Geno is a Jet.

There were rumors that the Jets thought about taking Smith with the 13th overall pick but decided instead on Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Now, the Jets have both players, while simultaneously jump starting the clock on the embattled Sanchez.  The only problem is, Sanchez is owed $8.25 million this season and would be a significant cap hit if the Jets were to cut him outright. You can send your complaints to former general manager Mike Tannenbaum for that one.

Regardless, releasing Sanchez, who had the worst QBR in football in 2012, may be the best option for the rudderless Jets. That is, if owner Woody Johnson is willing to fit the bill.

Also, for what it’s worth, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Jets are indeed willing to part with Sanchez and, get this, keep Tebow.

Never a dull moment. Stay tuned.