New York in purgatory

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This past Monday was supposed to be a defining night for the future of the New York Jets. 

Eight days prior, quarterback Mark Sanchez played his worst offensive game of his career in the Jets’ 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. His horrific play led to a firestorm of social media, and regular media for that matter, calling for Sanchez’s job in favor of the Second-Coming himself, Tim Tebow

Monday was to be the game in which Sanchez would either justify his status as franchise quarterback or succumb to the unstoppable, undeniable force that is Tebowmania.  

Had Sanchez been benched in favor of Tebow, the Mark Sanchez era in New York would be over.

Sanchez would never recover and the Jets would be forced to use Tebow, or some other answer, at quarterback in the years to come.

Instead of serving as the defining night that I had so desperately hoped it would be, Monday night instead played out as a microcosm of Mark Sanchez’s tenure as the Jets’ quarterback. 

Mark Sanchez is an average quarterback with flashes of brilliance, a quarterback that can win a good amount of football games with a solid offensive line and an above average ground game, and he is a quarterback that makes enough plays to mitigate – if only slightly – the moments of absolute mediocrity that plague his development.

This exact description fits his Monday night against Houston. 

Sanchez prevented the coaching staff from benching him outright due to some – frankly – spectacular throws. His touchdown pass in the first quarter to back-up tight end Jeff Cumberland was one such throw. 

As the pocket was collapsing around him, Sanchez took two graceful strides up in the pocket as he protected the ball from the Texans’ defensive line and delivered an absolute perfect ball down the seam with touch and precision. 

Then again, as he is prone to do quite often, we saw Sanchez miss on throws that any competent collegiate quarterback could make. We saw him throw two interceptions at crucial points in the game and we saw the same old “woe is me” body language after a bad play.

He is bad enough at times where you question his ability to be a franchise quarterback, and yet he is good enough at times to navigate a team to the AFC championship game – twice – and have a career postseason record of 4-2. 

In my opinion, the only way you can justify scrapping the Sanchez long-term blueprint is by coming up with a legitimate alternative. 

There is no such alternative and that is why I believe their situation to be one of purgatory. I do not believe Mark Sanchez is the long-term answer for the New York Jets, but I also believe – and more strongly – that Tim Tebow is not that answer. 

Skip Bayless and all those calling for Tebow need to realize one thing: short of Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers, there is not a quarterback in the NFL who could win consistently with the Jets’ current roster. 

The once-feared Jets defense is old, missing their best player, cannot tackle and cannot in any way, shape or form stop the run.

The offense is averaging a whopping 3.2 yards per carry, the line is drastically overrated and their most experienced active receiver entered this year with 72 career receptions.

The Jets have an absolute broken roster right now and installing Tebow as the full-time starter at quarterback will not make a significant impact such that you would consider ending the Mark Sanchez era. 

Tebow was moderately successful in Denver because he played for a team that had a defense that kept them in games and a ground game that was the best in football.

Kind of sounds like the type of team that Sanchez led to consecutive AFC Championship games, doesn’t it.  

Does Sanchez have the ability to become an elite quarterback in this league? Quite simply, no. But with the right team around him, he has proven that he can win, and it is unfair to scrap his entire career as a Jet because the team around him is flat-out bad. 

The Jets have a whole host of issues that they need to address: the guard position, running back, line backer, receiver, take your pick.

Until they address these issues they will not be a winning organization. But quarterback is a position that they needn’t waste time improving. 

So far now, Jets fans wait for an answer that isn’t coming anytime soon.

The deficiencies run far deeper than Mark Sanchez and the solutions are far more complex than Tim Tebow