Blog Entry

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:45 am
Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

By Ryan Wilson

Mark Sanchez - Jets

Is Sanchez in NY's future? Rex says yes. (AP Photo)
With each passing game, Sanchez confirms what everybody already suspected (even if Rex Ryan won't admit it publicly): he's an average NFL quarterback. There are worse fates (he could be Tyler Palko or Caleb Hanie), but Sanchez's success is contingent on the formula the Jets had working during the 2009 and 2010 seasons: ground, pound and a stifling defense.

In 2011, the rushing attack and the vaunted defense has been inconsistent, New York has fallen behind, and Sanchez hasn't been able to get the Jets in the end zone late in games. The result: eight wins against seven losses -- the latest coming Saturday against the Giants -- and the very real possibility of missing the playoffs for the first time in Rex Ryan's tenure as head coach.

“They were definitely the better team this year,” Ryan said after the 29-14 loss to the Giants. “Clearly, I was wrong. I will take the responsibility. It is on my shoulders and it should be. That’s just the way it is.”

That's what Ryan has to say -- the buck stops with him, after all -- but he's not calling offensive plays. That falls to Brian Schottenheimer, who dialed up 59 (fifty-nine!) pass plays. Sanchez completed just 30 attempts (51 percent), threw one touchdown vs. two interceptions and was sacked five times. By the end of the day, he looked out of sorts and out of confidence.

It's so bad that we're again hearing murmurs that Sanchez may not be the longterm answer at quarterback for the Jets, sentiments that come up a half-dozen times each season.'s Mike Freeman writes Monday that Schottenheimer's job is probably less secure than Sanchez's at this point.

"The inevitable Sanchez microscopic exam started immediately after that Giants loss. The site reported the Jets were having doubts about Sanchez. The New York Post loosely reported that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might be coaching for his job this week. The latter, I’m told by someone I trust, is more likely the truth."

Wherever reality lies -- and Rex has both Mark and Brian's back-- the point remains: Sanchez has yet to prove that he's a capable NFL quarterback. He thrives as a complimentary piece within a system but he's not the guy you want trying to bring the team back from a late-game deficit. Maybe he'll evolve into that player someday, but through nearly three NFL seasons, he's more game manager than game winner.

Tim Tebow - Broncos

After seven wins in his first eight games as Denver's starting quarterback, Tebow has now dropped two in a row and the Broncos are 8-7. A Week 17 win gives them the division crown and a home playoff game, but that will likely be against the Steelers or Ravens.

For now, though, the big issue is if defenses have figured out how to stop Denver's option attack and whether the offense has an answer to it.

The Bills, with nothing to play for after having lost seven in a row, intercepted Tebow four times (returning two for touchdowns). And while Tebow's numbers are troubling (13 of 30 for 185 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs and 3 sacks) he wasn't the same guy who was manhandled by the Lions back in Week 8. That Tebow looked confused all afternoon; this Tebow struggled with the Bills' scheme but wasn't overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. That scheme, by the way, wasn't some complicated Dick LeBeau zone blitz concoction. It was a stout four-man rush with seven men in coverage (including a quarterback spy). Tebow wasn't allowed to run for large chunks but was forced to stay in the pocket and win the game with his arm. Obviously, he couldn't do it.

Now the Broncos have a week to work out the kinks and hope everything's clicking should they make it into the postseason. Because if they don't … well, God help us because we're going to spend the spring and summer wondering who will be Denver's starting quarterback in 2012. And, really, nobody wants that.

Phillip Taylor - Browns

Taylor's gaffe was costly. (Getty Images)
Saturday's loss isn't entirely Phil Taylor's fault. The 2011 first-round pick wasn't solely responsible for the Ravens jumping out to a 17-0 lead. But it was his offsides penalty late in the fourth quarter with Cleveland trailing 20-14 that guaranteed the Browns would lose their fifth straight and remain winless in the AFC North this season.

After stuffing running back Ray Rice on third down, Baltimore faced a fourth-and-2 at the Browns' 37-yard line with just under two minutes to go in the game. The Ravens' options: attempting a 55-yard field goal, going for it on fourth down or punting. After a timeout, Baltimore's offense took the field, presumably to draw the Browns offside and keep the drive alive. Cleveland's defensive coaches warned players of as much … moments before Joe Flacco hard-counted and  coaxed Taylor into jumping early. First down Ravens, game over.

"It was the first hard count and we stayed onside. The second time, I just jumped," Taylor told The Associated Press. "Of course you feel bad but you just got to move on."

For the Browns, that means moving on to Week 17 where they will face the Steelers in a game Pittsburgh would like to win, even if it means doing so without starter Ben Roethlisberger, who was injured the first time these teams met in Week 14. (If the Ravens lose to the Bengals and Pittsburgh prevails in Cleveland, the Steelers would win the AFC North and get a first-round bye.)

Flacco, who has taken his share of criticism this season, was shocked Taylor fell for the hard count (it's the NFL equivalent of falling for the "pitcher fakes to third before throwing to first" routine in baseball).

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been in position for that to happen," Flacco said. "It’s never worked.”

There's a first time for everything, especially when you're facing the Browns.

Early Doucet - Cardinals

Poor Early Doucet. He was attacked by the seldom seen Paul Brown Stadium turf monster at the worst possible moment, and instead of hauling in possibly the easiest touchdown pass of his career, he was instead picking himself off the field as the ball skipped out of the end zone incomplete.

The specifics: facing 4th and 5 from the Bengals 17-yard line with 1:16 to go and trailing 23-16, Cardinals quarterback John Skelton threw to what appeared to be a wide open Doucet. Except he tripped and fell, as did Arizona's dwindling playoff hopes.

Turf monster avoids the pass interference call despite tripping Early Doucet.

It gets worse: the father of teammate Larry Fitzgerald called Doucet out, first on Twitter ("Doucet bombed this year he drops to many passes not a dependable No.2. Needs to work harder at his job. He dropped 5 TDs this year.") then to's Mike Sando.

“I just know that Larry invited him to come and work out with him this summer and some guys take initiative and do it, some guys don’t,” Larry Fitzgerald Sr. said. “But with the lockout, I thought he would have worked on it a little harder. That is me. People criticize me because they think I talk too much. That is just how I see it.”

On Monday, the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers wrote that "from previous conversations with Doucet and coaches, the Cardinals were happy with Doucet's off-season work. He was rehabbing from sports hernia surgery, and the Cardinals approved of his program. Receivers coach John McNulty complimented Doucet on reporting to training camp in shape."

Not to worry. Fitzgerald Sr. says he "wasn't picking on" Doucet. “I track when he drops the ball in critical situations. They use Larry the way they are going to use him, so they know others are going to be singled [in coverage]. The Ravens game, he dropped one on the goal line. I remember other games. Now that they’re out of the playoffs, I’m putting it out there.”

Can't wait to hear what Senior thinks about Kevin Kolb and/or John Skelton.

LeGarrette Blount - Buccaneers

Like Phil Taylor, it's unfair to point to Blount and say, "Yep, it's all his fault." But head coach Raheem Morris thought enough of Blount's performance to call him out after Tampa Bay's latest no-show performance, this time against the Panthers. On the Bucs' very first offensive play, Blount muffed the handoff from quarterback Josh Freeman. When an NFL team struggles with something as basic as a handoff it's probably time to hit the reset button. Which is exactly what will happen to Morris shortly after the season ends, and possibly to plenty of names currently on the roster, Blount included.

"To not get that play executed on the first play of the football game is unacceptable,'' Morris said according to the Tampa Tribune. "You're obviously not ready to play. I'm not ready to give up on him (Blount), but you can't let your team down that way.''

Blount was just as frank when asked about the play and the subsequent benching.

"It happens. Whenever you feel like something is not going your way, you've got to look somewhere else. If a back's been giving up the ball the whole season, you've got to find someone else to do the job. It was a miscommunication. We fumbled the ball.''

Meanwhile, veteran cornerback Ronde Barber, wholly unimpressed with the Bucs' defense, says that the same team that won 10 games last season is now full of players looking out for themselves. Such is the destiny for four-win clubs.

"That was an embarrassing performance, really, in the run game," Barber said after Tampa Bay allowed 270 yards rushing. "It's frustrating to watch because you know what the problems are. It looks like guys want to do their own thing. You've got to believe the guy next to you is going to do his job. … They didn't even need [Steve Smith] today. That just shows how far they've come and how far we've gotten away from what we used to be.''

(To be fair, the Panthers did have Cam, who has come so far, so fast, he's already ascended to one-word-name status). Which is why when we see the Bucs in 2012 they'll look nothing like the team that limped to the finish in 2011.

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Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:48 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

To be fair, Jets Mark Sanchez doesn't have a ton of experience, and the Jets running game ainst what it ud\sed to be...neither is their great defense. Plaxico Burress wasn't the answer on offense, and I'm still wondering why Santonio Holmes wasn't more invovled in the offense.

Tim Tebow is still learning...the Broncos QB has potential, but needs a full training camp with coach John Fox and other members of the the team. Tebow is still basically a rookie, who you are treating like he was a seasoned veteran. Your expectations are very high...and the Broncos have done reasonably well with him at QB with the resurgance of Willis McGahee. Give the guy a break.

Phillip Taylor is a rookie and the Browns are going nowhere as usual...who cares.

Early Doucette is just another under-achieving receiver the Cardinals are trying to match with Larry Fitzgerald. They would have been better off keeping Anquan Boldin, who the Ravens like, plus he gives it 100% every game.

The Bucs are dreadful, and it doesn't matter if they blame it on Josh Freeman, or any of the other players. Raheem Morris is gone, and he should be. They should be calling out the coach, not the players...who aren't much better.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: December 29, 2011 6:00 pm

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

I was asked & gave a short answer.Your comment' dissing my opinion was twice as long so it's you that wants to talk about it.I'll be right here every time he screws up just to remind you boneheads he's not your savior.

Since: Sep 30, 2007
Posted on: December 29, 2011 1:55 pm

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

that other dude may be a hater, but Serphynx, you're either delusional or at the very least, not a good debater and not very logical.  yes, Tebow is better football player than any one of us and will make more money...   BUT THAT'S EVERYONE IN THE NFL!!!  with YOUR logic, since EVERY pro athlete are better at the sport than non-pros, NO ONE (who's not a current pro) CAN EVER CRITICIZE ANY PRO PLAYER!!!  what your simp...   BIASED mind didn't comprehend is that we're comparing TEBOW TO OTHER QB's, NOT ANOTHER OFFICE WORKER!!!   and it's true, ANY fan that has ANY IDEA of what 'quick release/D-recognition/accuracy/timi

ng (so the WR doesn't have to break stride) can tell you that Tebow blows...   you JUST ANNOUNCED TO THE WORLD how biased you are and an obvious Tebow lover...   again, if you're going to debate, have SOME kinda supporting materials...   you'd be a worse lawyer than Lionel Huts (or whoever that Simpson's lawyer is)

Since: Nov 9, 2011
Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:18 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

I am not a Sanchez hater and yes I am a die-hard jets fan and have been thru the Tood/Ryan/Nagle/O'Brien and other QB they have trolled out over the bast 34 years I have been alive. Call me crazy but I think Sanchez is the answer. Let's look. The Jets have made the AFC title game two years in a row and last year it was Sanchez who brought them back against Pittsburg. Not The D, not Green or LT it was Sanchez. He has also accounted for 30 TD's this year 24 in the air and 6 on the ground. Vinny holds the record for most TD's by a Jet thru the air with 29 in 1998. With a game left he is five behind in year three. That is impressive. Also he had a great connection with Braylon who they never should have let go, I like Plax but that was a huge gamble that didn't really payoff well.  

Now I will say this: The play calling is dreadful and it seems every pass is a quick slant to Holmes....Schott
y sucks and Sanchez had room to grow. I bet next year he could flourish with better play calling  

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:53 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

Sanchez is the answer... and the answer is "no".

Tebow is not the answer.

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:49 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

chscouter: You think that the Colts actually WANT Sanchez? That would be a deal breaker IMHO. Its best for the Jets to just draft another QB and to pick up a FA QB if any available. The Mark Sanchez experiment should be considered OVER.

Since: Dec 29, 2011
Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:28 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

My Opinion on What the Jets Should Do:


-1st Round Draft Pick


-Peyton Manning

The Colts will get Andrew Luck. Him and Sanchez can duke it out for the starting QB job. Addai doesnt have much left and Greene hasent even played 5 years left.

The Jets will have Manning (enough said) and they still have LT and Joe McKnight. Both good backs.

This will be the biggest Trade of this Postseason if it happens.

In my opinion good trade here.

Since: Dec 19, 2007
Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:17 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

Mark Sanchez definitely isn't the answer, but he isn't the problem either.
The Jets need some speed at at the RB position and a new offensive coordinator.
Schottenheimer is pitiful and has a shitty personality(just like his dad) to boot!
Of course, the Jets could really use help at the linebacker position, also.

Since: Sep 25, 2009
Posted on: December 29, 2011 1:38 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

Since you asked........I didn't fall into the Tebow trap like half the country.I've already voiced my opinion on that & was called a hater.That's what people say these days when there is a disagreement.I don't think there's anything that can be done that would make TT an NFL QB.Right now he's just pretending to be one & teams will make adjustments that will make him look even worse.I guess they could make him a running back, but I don't see him excelling at that either.
There is one thing I've learned from this saga:The Denver Broncos AND their fans have a lot to learn about the NFL.My ten year old knew Tebow wasn't NFL material.The Tebow train was nearly full & if TT were to win another couple games, that train would fill up again.Apparently giving up on Tebow in Denver is akin to giving up smoking.
You ARE a hater. He is listed as the starting QB and has been cashing checks all season, bigger checks than you will earn in your lifetime incidentally.

It's so funny that you're still harping on this as if it wasn't the dumbest thing anyone has posted on here recently. As much as it bothers you, Tim Tebow has already, and still is, living his dream. He is in the NFL, he is QBing for a playoff contender, and he's won more games in the NFL than you and your 10 year old can even dream about. Even if he never plays another down again, he has achieved far more than you will your entire life. He is clearly an NFL QB because he is an NFL QB, right now, at this moment.

That is what makes it so funny. You're sitting there behind your keyboard, mocking the guy every chance you get, smug because it's the internet and there is really no impact in anything you do but you can convince yourself there is in your own little world. In reality nobody cares at all what you post. If you're wrong nobody cares, if you're right nobody cares. You can keep spamming the boards trying to get someone to acknowledge you as the weeks and months go by, and occasionally maybe you'll even get a post responding to you like I just did. But see the thing is I don't actually care about you either, I just had a few minutes to kill and when I finish writing this post I'll forget within a few days that I even wrote it. But you won't, because you'll still need everyone to talk about Tim Tebow some more.


Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: December 29, 2011 1:21 am

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

  Is he the answer, not  yet.  He must be so frustrating for a coach.  He can look like a complete idiot one game, than a great qb the next.  He has been there long enough to be able to "get it".  He better get better soon or they may be dialing Favre's # again. JK   I'm not kidding about them calling someone else if he doesn't iou better havemprove fast.  This may be determined in week 17.  You better have your game on this week, or you may be out of a job!

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