It can’t get much worse for the New York Jets offense these days.
The Jets have gone 12 quarters, 35 drives, and 174 plays without a TD this preseason. IT’S THE PRESEASON, come on now.
For the Mark Sanchez – Rex Ryan era, this is rock bottom.
It goes past the old notion of “Preseason doesn’t matter.” Mentally, the touchdown-drought has to be lingering in the thoughts of these Jets players.
At least the team still has hope. A hope that relies on Tim Tebow and the “Tebow-package”, the only real part of the Jets’ offensive repertoire the team hasn’t shown yet.
The Jets offensive shortcomings so far have put even more pressure on that wildcat scheme to succeed. Whether it does or doesn’t, will in turn put more pressure on Mark Sanchez to succeed.
Going into this fourth year as quarterback of the Jets, Sanchez is taking steps backwards rather than forward.
He began his career with back-to-back AFC championship game trips, then missed the playoffs last year and now has been a focal point of the team’s offensive woes this preseason.
For Sanchez, the pressure is on. This isn’t Houston or Tampa Bay where he can play under the radar. This is New York, where every move he makes is monitored, and likely scrutinized.
He’s had three years to develop, and now this year it’s time for him to answer the all-important question – “Is Mark Sanchez the New York Jets’ franchise quarterback?”
Sanchez has to handle more than the expectations. He has to handle the comparisons as well.
The “Other” New York quarterback, Eli Manning just won his second Super Bowl after winning his first one during his fourth year. Through the first three years of their careers, both quarterback’s statistics look virtually identical.
If the Jets are going to make any noise this season they’re going to need Mark Sanchez to take that next step.
Sometimes though the Jets’ actions run seem to hinder Sanchez’s development.
How about by bringing Tebow in?
The Jets believed that Tebow could run the wildcat offense and that he could push Mark Sanchez to elevate his game.
Instead, so far it’s brought the distraction of Tebow-mania to New York for the relentless New York media to pound on.
Instead it’s seemed to blur the confidence Jets management publicly had in Sanchez.
The Jets offensive line hasn’t done Sanchez any favors either. They allowed seven sacks against the Giants. Rex Ryan even went so far as to insert a new right tackle, Austin Howard, into the starting lineup earlier this week.
Aside from a few mistakes though, Sanchez has looked sharp in his last two preseason games. But it’s not good enough for Sanchez anymore.
Luckily for the Jets in a few weeks they can silence all their doubters. They can make everyone forget.
For a team that runs on uncanny self-confidence, they’re going to to need some of that to change the direction of this football team.