Being a New York Jets fan over the past few years has looked something similar to being a Texas Aggie fan during the Fran era: unbelievably confusing. Jets fans have had to endure the preseason hype of thinking they have an AFC championship team, only to be let down by the reality that their team cannot even win their division.
Many have noted that it’s a coaching issue with head coach Rex Ryan. Others blame an offense filled with talent that is mediocre caliber at best; but most blame the one person who leads that soft offense: Mark Sanchez.
Anyone who watches ESPN’s “Not So Top 10” segment every Friday knows exactly who Mark Sanchez is. He’s the guy who has held the “worst of the worst” play for almost an entire year. This play, a blown play, leads to Sanchez attempting a QB run up the middle, close lining himself into his own offensive lineman’s rear end, fumbling the ball, and watching a New England Patriots defensive back return it for a touchdown. Hilarious right? Not for Jets fans.
For Jets fans, this play is a constant reminder that their organization is backpedaling rather than getting closer to a championship ring. During the 2013 NFL Draft, Jets fans were ready for a change at QB to start turning things around, so the organization did exactly that: they drafted Geno Smith in the second round.
I’m sure most Jets fans, along with other NFL analysts out there, thought Geno might truly be the answer to their prayers. But with the announcement that Sanchez will start against the Jacksonville Jaguars leaves the Jets fan base wondering, “is anything actually changing?”
Coach Ryan told the media this week that Smith had a “brutal” practice, and along with a mild sprain, it wasn’t a total shock to anyone that Sanchez received the nod. However, if you’re a Jets fan, you can’t help but feel the pressure building that one of these guys has got to step up, otherwise this season will look something like déjà vu.
Jets fans are ready for a change, but that change may be a long time coming. In reality, there could still be a spark hidden underneath Sanchez, which could really play out this season.
Most fans forget, but Sanchez’s first two years in the league were actually above average. In Sanchez’s first year he led his team to two playoff victories, and in his second he led his team all the way to the AFC championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But that was then, and this is now. Jets fans don’t care about what happened back in 2010, they care about what happens this year. With a quarterback who seems to be a very long, over dated, sophomore slump, and a quarterback who could potentially be a draft bust, Jets fans sit by their flat screens nervously as they wait to watch the madness unfold.
Both quarterbacks have the potential to do great this year, but both quarterbacks also have the potential to be miserable. Sanchez offers experience, whereas Smith could provide a fresh jolt to the struggling offense. But either way whenever the New York Jets name their starter for the regular season, they need to stand behind him fully.
As fingers point and the blame is tossed around, maybe it’s time for the Jets organization to start realizing that maybe the quarterback problem isn’t the only issue that needs fixing. In fact, maybe it’s everything and everyone else that is supposed to build a quarterback and contribute to his success. Last time anyone checked, those superstars or football gurus do not seem to be found anywhere at MetLife Stadium.