Tag:Mark Sanchez
Posted on: January 5, 2012 5:56 pm
 

Former Jet Kris Jenkins calls out Mark Sanchez

Jenkins isn't impressed with Sanchez's leadership skills. (US PRESSWIRE/AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Former Jets defensive lineman Kris Jenkins has transitioned nicely from the playing field to the analyst's chair. He's made occasional appearances on CBS's The NFL Today, and he had a thoughtful piece in the New York Times in November documenting his life in professional football.

On Thursday, Jenkins spared us the nuance when he took to Mike Lupica's radio show to talk about the unintentional comedy stylings of the New York Jets and Mark Sanchez (transcript via PFT.com).

“The No. 1 quarterback should have said that a long time ago,” Jenkins said, referring to backup Greg McElroy's recent public comments about the sorry state of the Jets locker room. “It would have been all part of the process of him growing a pair and standing up and being a man. But the thing is, he lost his because he got caught up in the wash that is New York, the spotlight, taking pictures in the magazines and doing all that stuff. That’s just what everybody has seen with Mark Sanchez, they got tired of it.”

Aaron Rodgers agrees with the part about fancy clothes and magazine shoots. "I mean look at this -- that's embarrassing," Rodgers said in September of Sanchez's designer wife beater and skinny jeans ensemble. "Page 94 of the GQ thing here, that's terrible."

Also embarrassing and terrible? Sanchez's 2011 season, his third in the NFL, though it wasn't completely his fault. The lack of a running game coupled with an inconsistent defense and the worst team captain in organized sports conspired to wreck the Jets' season and any progress Sanchez might've made.

Jenkins played with Sanchez for parts of the 2009 and 2010 season and admitted that he was impressed by the former USC quarterback's potential. But like intentions and the road to hell, the NFL scrap heap is littered with players with tons of potential who don't do much with it. Right now, that's Sanchez.

“Mark wants to be a leader but there’s a difference between wanting it and taking it,” Jenkins said. “He’s always trying to be a crowd pleaser. He’s always trying to be nice. He wants to be a leader but he won’t take it.”

According to head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum, Sanchez is the Jets' starter heading into 2012. Maybe it's a case of blind loyalty offsetting what seems to be obvious to most folks: despite Sanchez's draft status, he's not a franchise quarterback. And it's not clear he ever will be, especially if Santonio Holmes is on the roster next season.

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:01 am
 

McElroy: Jets locker room 'not a fun place to be'

Holmes

By Josh Katzowitz

Despite all assurances that coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum will get it all figured out, the Jets flamed out in quite a spectacular way in the second half of the season.

If it wasn’t Santonio Holmes figuratively urinating on the Captain’s C stitched on his jersey, it was Bart Scott flipping off a photographer. If it wasn’t the constant debate about whether offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should be fired, it was a constant argument about whether Mark Sanchez should be disowned as the team’s quarterback of the future.

Jets in turmoil
It was, to say the least, an uncomfortable locker room experience, according to quarterback Greg McElroy.

“It’s definitely not a fun place to be,” McElroy told an Alabama radio station on Wednesday, via the NY Daily News. “I can assure you.”

McElory was placed on Injured Reserve with a thumb injury, but that didn’t stop him from experiencing the unpredictability of a locker room in turmoil. Ryan said Monday that the team chemistry was off this season and that he needed to fix it (surely bringing back Holmes for another season will hinder that goal, eh?).

But maybe it’s more than just chemistry that needs to be fixed.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been around extremely selfish individuals,” McElory said. “I think that’s maybe the nature of the NFL. But there were people within our locker room that didn’t care whether we won or [lost]… as long as they got their… they really had a good game individually. And that’s the disappointing thing.

"It’s going to take a lot to kind of come together next year. I think the fact that we struggled at times this year really led to a really corrupt mindset within the locker room. But I think we’re going to regroup and I know that we’ll be a better team because of the trials and tribulations this year.”

Former Jets quarterback Erik Ainge didn’t appreciate McElroy’s candor apparently. Tweeted Ainge: “Someone tell McElroy to keep his mouth shut about the NYJ ‘Locker Room’ speaking in the media about your teammates, entitled brat!”

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:46 pm
 

NFL looking at Bart Scott's middle finger salute

Everything is not coming up Bart(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Things are not going well for the Jets. And regardless of what Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum said at their press conference recently, something has to change. One of those changes could be linebacker Bart Scott, who will reportedly be cut this offseason, and who is being investigated by the NFL for giving a reporter the bird in the locker room on Monday.

As you'll recall, we detailed the disaster that took place in the Jets locker room when players were cleaning out their lockers. Rex was crying, Santonio Holmes (who will be back) wasn't talking and Scott was getting into it with reporters.

A photo of Scott shooting the middle finger to a New York Daily News reporter has emerged. See it -- censored by yours truly -- below.


Scott gives a reporter the single-bird salute.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed that the league is investigating the incident. Given the obscene nature of Scott's gesture combined with the clear-cut photographic proof said gesture, and the fact that Scott reportedly said "Get out of my f------ face," it's hard to imagine he doesn't get heavily fined. (We learned that's what the NFL does via Rex, actually.)

Ryan (ironically?) called Scott's behavior "unacceptable" and said something will be done about it.

"I don't know exactly how," Ryan said on a radio interview. "But that situation will definitely be addressed."

Scott's got bigger problems, though. Rod Boone of Newsday reports that Scott "likely played his final game as a Jet on Sunday."

The linebacker, who recorded 66 tackles in 2011 (a career low for him as a starter), is scheduled to make $4.5 million in 2012 and there's simply no way the Jets are going to pay that much for the production that Scott offers them at this stage.

Mike Lombardi of the NFL Network reports that the Jets can get out of paying Scott any guaranteed money, but that it would be "news to the veteran linebacker."

All of this adds up to more Jets offseason drama and even a potential public-relations confrontation between Scott and Rex.

To quote a great philosopher, "Can't wait."

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 4:01 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 4:38 pm
 

Rex: Holmes will be back in 2012; owed $7.5M?

Santonio Holmes is escorted out of the Jets locker room Monday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

With everything that happened with the Jets over the past 24 hours -- missing the playoffs, fighting with the media, in-fighting and whatnot -- you wouldn't be surprised if Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum decided to blow some stuff up. But they won't.

Ryan and Tannebaum confirmed on Monday during a press conference that Santonio Holmes, the player primarily deemed responsible for locker-room issues, would return, and that much-maligned offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would be back, barring another team (like Jacksonville) hiring him as their head coach.

Black Monday

"I believe Santonio will be back next year," Ryan said.

The pair were pelted with questions about Holmes and team chemistry and Ryan said they would do away with team captains altogether.

"I made a huge mistake," Ryan said. "Not just by naming Santonio a captain. With all the captains. It's not something I truly believe in."

When the Jets announced the press conference for Monday, speculation started to ramp up that the Jets could do away with Holmes altogether. However, as Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reported, Holmes is guaranteed more than $7 million in 2012 (with another $7 million of future salary becoming fully guaranteed on the second day of the 2012 league year).

Which is to say, the Jets can't really even consider releasing Holmes. They've simply got to find a way to get him to be better in the locker room. (Tannenbaum wouldn't comment on whether Santonio was disciplined for his behavior the last week.)

As for other issues, Tannenbaum said that Mark Sanchez will remain the starting quarterback in 2012. And Rex indicated there wouldn't be any changes on the coaching staff as of right now.

Oh and Rex's excuse for crying to his team in the locker room on Monday?

"Ah, Im Irish."


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Posted on: January 1, 2012 11:39 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 8:53 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 17: Brees for MVP?

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Listen to the Pick-Six Podcast Week 17 recap below and don't forget to
subscribe via iTunes
.

Drew Brees for MVP?

Over the next month, until the MVP is announced before the Super Bowl, there's going to be an intense debate about whether or not Drew Brees' incredible hot streak to close out the season vaulted him past Aaron Rodgers for the MVP award.

Four weeks ago, this wasn't a debate. Even with Brees having a monster year, the Packers were undefeated and Rodgers was eviscerating defenses on a weekly basis.

Their numbers were close enough to tell anyone suggesting a debate to kindly close their piehole.

Now? Well it's a lot closer than it was. The numbers (below) make that much obvious even though the actual premises behind the argument are just frustrating from the sense of measuring a season by its full extent.

Player
Comp % Pass Yards
Pass TDs INT
W-L
Aaron Rodgers
68.3 4,643 45 6 14-1
Drew Brees
71.2 5,476 46 14 13-3

The bigger problem for Rodgers may be a confluence of events around 4:00pm ET Sunday afternoon: as Brees was throwing his fifth touchdown pass (hey, just one more than Rodgers!), Packers backup Matt Flynn was going absolutely bananas against the Lions, slicing up Detroit's secondary for six touchdowns and 480 yards, a Packers franchise record.

Take a look at the list of the guys who've thrown for six teeters in a game since the merger. Spoiler alert: it's short, and full of awesome quarterbacks.

Flynn's on the list now and as a result, he's blatantly going to cost Rodgers a ton of "Well if the backup can do that" votes, while Brees staying in much longer than needed against the Panthers netted him a significant boost in the eyes of "What have you done for me lately?" voters.

But let's get one thing out of the way first: Aaron Rodgers is not a "system quarterback." Yeah, there's actually a debate raging as to whether he is or not. And if you believe that Rodgers is only successful because of the Packers "system" then you're as foolish as anyone who thought Tom Brady was a system quarterback when Matt Cassel had a big year filling in for the Patriots.

Every team has a "system" on offense and some -- the Packers and Patriots stand out -- are better than others. But Flynn's a good quarterback who's succeeded before (he nearly beat the Patriots in prime time last year), has a great pedigree (BCS title anyone?) and has spent multiple years working behind Rodgers. That's not going to make him worse. There's a reason the Packers, winners of 21 of 22 games since LAST Christmas, have him on the roster. And it's not because he makes a mean gumbo.

Look, less than two weeks ago, Rodgers carved up a very (very) good Bears defense on Christmas night. All season long he commanded the Packers offense like a conductor, made ridiculous throws that no one else in the NFL can make and generally let the world pencil his name in for MVP. 

His season's been so magnificent that it's somehow getting railroaded by the Packers losing to the Chiefs late (but don't forget, the Saints lost to the Rams and, uh, the Packers), sitting out Week 17 (a smart move with homefield clinched) and Sean Payton and Brees running up the score in order to break records (which is fine, but let's call it what it is).

There's no question that Drew Brees is a viable MVP candidate. He's had an all-time season in 2011. But judging the MVP race based on a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude is shortsighted, and it diminishes the incredible season Rodgers had in Green Bay.

Winners

Tom Coughlin: Coughlin won the NFC East, despite sitting on the hot seat most of the season, and the Giants suddenly have a look of a team that could absolutely be a playoff sleeper. They can rush the passer mercilessly when they get hot, Victor Cruz is turning into a salsa-dancing monster and Eli Manning's smoking hot right now. Given the success wild-card teams have had in recent years -- hello, 2007 Giants! -- it would be foolish to count them out.

Maurice Jones-Drew:
"Mojo" ripped off a season-high 169 rushing yards on Sunday against Indy. That not only gave him the NFL rushing title for 2011, but also gave him the Jaguars single-season record for rushing yards, as he broke Fred Taylor's previous high of 1,572 in 2003. In a very dismal season for Jacksonville's offense, MJD's been an absolute workhorse. He's up there with Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith in terms of all-time greats for the Jaguars.

Jason Taylor
: The only way Taylor's exit -- as a Dolphin, on the shoulders of his teammates after taking down the Jets -- could have been better is if the fumble he returned for a touchdown wasn't overturned. Taylor's a classy dude, a gamer, a hell of a dancer and at sixth all-time on the sack-leader list (not to mention a media favorite!), he'll find his way into Canton. Awesome career.

Matt Flynn: As noted above, Flynn had a decent day on Sunday. That's going to translate well when he becomes an unrestricted free agent and potentially becomes the most desirable quarterback on the market. There are lots of teams that need a quarterback and Flynn will be on everyone's radar just as much as Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. If someone falls in love with him, he might get Kevin Kolb money.

Cincinnati Bengals: Nothing like losing and still ending up in the winner's column, huh? The Bengals played the Ravens well on Sunday but Ray Rice was too much for them. Fortunately, KC beat Denver (or, if you prefer, San Diego beat Oakland) and the Bengals backed their way into a playoff matchup against a Texans team that will either start T.J. Yates or Jake Delhomme.

Sanchez is no lock for the Big Apple in 2012. (AP)

Losers

Mark Sanchez: The Jets never even got a shot at backdooring their way into the playoffs, as Sanchez picked apart his own offense and gave the Dolphins nine points off of three interceptions, two of which were to defensive lineman Randy Starks. It wouldn't ultimately matter, because the Titans won and eliminated Rex Ryan's crew, but anyone who justified Sanchez' performance with the old "He just wins!" argument has packed up their shanty and moved to Denver to make that argument. He didn't play like a $14 million quarterback this year -- even though he got paid like one -- and it would almost be surprising if the Jets didn't make a swap at the position.

Detroit Lions: They haven't won at Lambeau since 1991 now, dropping a mind-blowing 20 consecutive games at the Packers homefield. Of course, that's not why they're on this list, although it doesn't help. They're on this list because they just gave up 480 passing yards to the Packers backup and losing in Green Bay (coupled with Atlanta rumbling over the Bucs) means Detroit's next game will be in New Orleans. Against Drew Brees. You should go ahead and put your mortgage on the over.

Raheem Morris: I'm hesitant to include Morris because I'm pretty sure he'll have already been fired by time I hit publish. I mean, if there was ever a time not to let your opponent get out to a 42-0 lead it's definitely the final game of the season when you're riding a nine-game losing streak and barely clinging to your job.

Rob Ryan: Dallas looked absolutely flat early on Sunday night and somehow managed to storm back on the Giants, only to have the secondary shredded by Eli Manning when they cut the lead to seven points. Ryan's defense hasn't backed up his mouth all season long and even though you want your coach to make better late-game decisions and you don't want your quarterback turning the ball over late, there

John Elway: Kyle Orton didn't do anything crazy like throw for 500 yards to beat the Broncos on Sunday, but they win that game against Tyler Palko. Not that it mattered, because the Broncos made the playoffs anyway when the Chargers topped the Raiders. But Elway put himself in the position to miss the postseason by releasing Orton and even if it helped the team's chemistry they're barely hanging on right now and look like a lock for a first-round exit.

The Big Questions

 
The Broncos didn't exactly storm into the playoffs. (AP)

1. Is the Tim Tebow magic finally gone?
It just might be. The Broncos still made the playoffs, of course, and anything can happen once you get to the postseason. But Denver limped their way there, backing into a title at 8-8 on a three-game skid. Teams seem to have figured out that playing press-man coverage against Tebow severely limits what he can do on offense (he's much better at picking apart zones and makes fewer mistakes) and Denver proved that if they can't generate turnovers, they're in trouble. It's hard to imagine them beating the Steelers, even at home.

2. Who's the AFC favorite going forward?
The Ravens are my pick. They get homefield up to the AFC Championship and only lose it then if they have to play the Patriots. They've beaten the Bengals twice and they've beaten the Steelers twice. They've beaten New England in New England in the playoffs before, and the Pats have no defense. And the Ravens are nightmare matchups in Baltimore for Houston and Denver, neither of whom can keep pace if the Ravens start scoring.

3. How about the NFC?
Say what you want about how hot the Saints are -- and they are white hot -- but the Packers are still the favorites. They've got homefield throughout, they have two weeks to rest their starters and they can score on anyone. One bad week against the Chiefs does not a 15-1 team unseat. Their defense isn't great, but few teams do have a good defense and if they matchup against New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game, it's going down at Lambeau Field.

4. Who're the most dangerous non-playoff teams in 2012?
Eagles, Panthers and Chargers for me. The Snooze Buttons finished 8-8 and if they'd had a full offseason, they might have won the NFC East. Their dominant defense down the stretch is reason for optimism if you're an Eagles fan. Carolina needs defense, but they suffered an insane amount of injury-related attrition in 2011 and if they draft all defense and get healthy, they can contend in the NFC South. Plus: Cam Newton. And the Bolts showed this year they could be as good as playoff teams but just made stupid mistakes. A new coach could clear those problems up.

5. Any chance Jerry Jones changes his mind on Jason Garrett?
Jones has been incredibly supportive of Garrett so probably not. But someone's taking the fall for the Cowboys not making the playoffs and the best guess here is that it's Rob Ryan. He runs his mouth constantly and his defense doesn't back up all the talk -- their secondary got absolutely shredded by Eli Manning right after they got back into the game Sunday night.

6. What is Stevie Johnson thinking with his celebrations?

He's not thinking, actually. Johnson's scheduled to be a free agent in what's a really, really deep wide receiver class in 2012 and reportedly wants $7.5 million. The only problem is he's now developed a stigma for dropping really important catches and oftentimes costing his teams 15 yards with penalties like he did on Sunday. Wishing everyone "Happy New Years!" is a cool thing to do ... when it's not bad for your job and you're looking for a raise. Johnson's one of the most fun and interesting guys in the NFL but he has to be smarter than that.

7. How smart do the Steelers look for that Santonio Holmes trade now?
You don't even know the half of it. Not only did the dump a guy who's clearly a locker room distraction (Holmes) and not LaDainian Tomlinson-approved as a captain, but Pittsburgh allowed Mike Wallace to emerge as one of the best wideouts in the game and let someone else (the Jets) pick up the tab for Holmes' long-term deal. Oh, and in case you didn't know, they used the pick they got from the Jets to draft 2011 breakout wide receiver Antonio Brown

8. Should my team draft a running back early this year?
Negative, ghostrider, the pattern is full. Full of guys who weren't drafted in the first round leading the league in rushing anyway.

Player
2011 Rush Yards
2011 Rush YPG
2011 Rush TDs
2011 YPC
Year/Round/Pick
Maurice Jones-Drew
1,606 100.4 8 4.7 2006/2/60th
LeSean McCoy
1,309 87.3 17 4.8 2009/2/53rd
Arian Foster
1,224 94.2 10 4.4 2009/None/UFA
Frank Gore
1,211 75.7 8 4.3 2008/2/55
Ray Rice
1,173 78.2 10 4.4 2005/3/65

This doesn't mean teams should avoid drafting someone who's a special talent in college (see: Adrian Peterson) but there's a real sweet spot developing in the draft for undersized, pass-catching running backs (go ahead and add in Jamaal Charles too) who turn out to be a lot better than where they were drafted.

9. How's that Carson Palmer trade working out now?
Not so good. The Raiders could have arguably won the trade if they made the playoffs. All they had to do was beat a downtrodden Chargers team at home and they couldn't, so they miss the postseason and give up a first-round pick and a second-round pick to the Bengals (who made the playoffs, naturally). With Palmer, the Raiders were 6-4 and he threw 13 touchdowns and 16 picks. Whoops. Add in the fact that Hue Jackson just coached the most-penalized team in NFL history and he has some explaining to do.

10. Is Romeo Crennel the Chiefs next head coach?
Hard to imagine he's not. KC finished 6-9 on the season and two of those wins were with Crennel in charge; they also nearly beat Oakland in Week 16 too. Surely Scott Pioli thinks that with Crennel in charge this season and better injury luck the Chiefs would've won the division. He might be right, actually, and that's why Crennel will get the gig.

11. How many records did the Saints break on Sunday?
Eleventy billion or thereabouts. Brees and Sean Payton were basically rubber-stamping their signatures all over the NFL's offensive record books. They set the record for points scored in a season, most points scored at home in a season, most passing yards in a season (Brees' own record), best completion percentage in a season (again, Brees'), most completions in a season, most all-purpose yards in a single season (Darren Sproles owns it) and most receiving yards by a tight end in a season (only Rob Gronkowski broke that one a little while later). I can't confirm it, but I'm pretty sure the Saints broke the record for most broken records as well.

GIF O' THE WEEK

Bryan Braman is going to get fined for a helmet-to-helmet hit that he made ... without a helmet.

Worth 1,000 Words


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Posted on: January 1, 2012 4:25 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2012 4:53 pm
 

Jets lose; what now for Schottenheimer, Sanchez?

Schottenheimer

By Josh Katzowitz

The Jets were in disarray before their game Sunday vs. the Dolphins. They still had a slim chance of making the playoffs, but aside from that uncertainty, there’s been plenty of talk the past few weeks about whether Mark Sanchez was the quarterback of the future and whether Brian Schottenheimer should continue on as offensive coordinator.

Although Rex Ryan asked you to light a candle before Sunday’s game, that obviously didn’t work.

The Dolphins knocked off the Jets 19-17 Sunday, and Sanchez -- and the Jets offense -- was awful. Sanchez went 21 of 32 for 207 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, including one to Marvin Mitchell in the red zone with less than 3 minutes to play as New York was driving for the lead.





While LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for 111 rushing yards, and rookie receiver Jeremy Kerley made some nice plays -- including a 41-yard pass -- Sanchez killed the Jets chances. And might get his offensive coordinator fired.

And if Rex Ryan keeps tying his fate to Sanchez, you have to wonder how much longer he’ll keep his job. Or if he’s smart enough to even have it.


Follow all the Week 17 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games:
DET-GB | TEN-HOU | IND-JAC | NYJ-MIA | CHI-MIN | BUF-NE | CAR-NO | WAS-PHI | SF-STL

4 p.m. ET games:
TB-ATL | BAL-CIN | PIT-CLE | SEA-ARI | KC-DEN | SD-OAK




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Posted on: January 1, 2012 11:11 am
Edited on: January 1, 2012 11:44 am
 

Rex Ryan asks that you 'light a candle' for Jets

New York's playoff hopes are somewhere between slim and none. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Jets are in a bad way and it's all their doing. The tenacious Rex Ryan defense that had been a hallmark of this Jets team the previous two seasons has been inconsistent in 2011, as has the running game. And those two shortcomings have only exacerbated the quarterback situation. Specifically, the annual conversation about Mark Sanchez's abilities to lead the Jets, and how soon until the organization should throw up their hands and move on.

For now, New York is ninth in the AFC behind the Titans and Raiders, and they need a confluence of remarkable luck to sneak into the No. 6 and final wild-card spot, currently held by the Bengals.

Ryan understands as much which is why he asks that we "light a candle" for the Jets' playoff chances. Football Outsiders puts those chances at 9.5 percent.

So exactly what has to happen?

The Jets can clinch a wild card spot with:
1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie
2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

There is good new, though: whatever happens, Rex says that Sanchez is "his guy" going forward. Of course, that's what Ryan has to say at this point in the proceedings. After the season, everything could change. After all, in that same interview, Ryan said that Brian Schotteheimer had his full support. On Sunday, however, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Norv Turner, who's set to be fired by the Broncos any day now, is expected to be one of the Jets' top targets to coordinate the offense in 2012. Another possible target: Josh McDaniels, currently the Rams' offensive coordinator, who will likely be out of work when St. Louis moves on from head coach Steve Spagnuolo.

Schottenheimer, incidentally, could be in line for a head coaching gig, even though he's had his issues as New York's OC.


Follow all the Week 17 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games:
DET-GB | TEN-HOU | IND-JAC | NYJ-MIA | CHI-MIN | BUF-NE | CAR-NO | WAS-PHI | SF-STL

4 p.m. ET games:
TB-ATL | BAL-CIN | PIT-CLE | SEA-ARI | KC-DEN | SD-OAK



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Posted on: December 27, 2011 11:45 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 16: Is Sanchez the answer?

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. CBSSports.com'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 Profootballtalk.com 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 ESPN.com'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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com