Former Colts GM Bill Polian took time to note 10 key players that CAN make their teams SERIOUS contenders in 2012. Polian has Sanchez on this list and basically stated EVERYTHING I and every other LOGICAL and RATIONAL Jets fan have been saying for quite some time now. Polian posted the article in ESPN’s Insiders section so I figured I’d share with those without access;
“This season, there are a number of pivotal players who haven’t performed up to the elite level required to make their teams legitimate title threats — yet. Here’s a look at 10 key players who, given a leap in performance, could make their teams serious contenders in 2012:
1. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets
Sanchez has endured more scrutiny in the past two seasons than most players in their entire careers. That speaks to the pressure cooker that is the quarterback position in a major market like New York, but it also speaks to his essential role in making the Jets into the Super Bowl threat their coach believes them to be.
I believe Sanchez has the tools to be a successful NFL quarterback, but he needs room to grow, and I wonder if he’ll ever find that room with the Jets. It’s a tough road to grow as a QB in the NFL, and the Jets’ situation makes it even more difficult for Sanchez. And I’m not even talking about trading for Tim Tebow, who I do not believe will threaten Sanchez’s status as a starter.
In terms of reaching his potential, Sanchez faces a very high degree of difficulty because of the Jets’ approach. Rex Ryan wants to “ground and pound” the ball. That means running the ball up to 35 times per game (ideally with a lead), controlling the clock and playing solid defense. But inevitably there will be times when the Jets need to throw the ball, whether it’s when trailing late in a game or when facing third-and-long. The similarity that both of those situations have in common is that the defense knows exactly what’s coming. By only utilizing Sanchez as a passer when he must be one, the difficulty escalates because the defense has a good sense of what’s coming. If you take away the element of surprise, you’re handicapping your QB’s chances of success.
For the Jets to achieve their Super Bowl goal, Sanchez must continue to grow. But for him to improve under the circumstances mentioned above, it’ll be a high hurdle.”