Patrick Daugherty

Football Daily Dose

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The Ballad Of Mark And Tim

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Someone’s terrible in New York, but it’s not who an anonymous Jets’ “defensive starter” thinks it is.

In this age of billion-dollar, high-pressure, under-the-microscope football, leashes and allegiances are incredibly short.

Just ask Marty Schottenheimer, Donovan McNabb, or heck, Gene Chizik.

That’s why it’s all the more astonishing Mark Sanchez is still quarterbacking the 3-6 New York Jets.

Thanks to his big market, bigger expectations and brazen coach, Sanchez has been an easy, often undeserved object of scorn throughout his four-year NFL career.

That time is not 2012. A 26-year-old former No. 5 overall pick with 56 career starts under his belt, Sanchez is not only playing some of the worst football of his career, but the worst football of many careers. He’s regressing, and making an already bad football team that much worse.  

For starters, he’s averaging just 6.3 yards every time he attempts a pass. It’s a number nearly two yards worse than Josh Freeman’s, and better than the marks of only Brandon Weeden, Matt Hasselbeck, John Skelton and Blaine Gabbert.

Weeden is a rookie. Hasselbeck is a caretaker veteran. Skelton is a 24-year-old former fifth-round pick thrust into his job via injury. Gabbert is a failed experiment certain to be replaced in 2013.

But nevermind that. We need to move onto Sanchez’s 70.3 QB rating. Yes, QB rating is a nearly impossible to understand, probably antiquated statistic that isn’t always representative of a quarterback’s true effectiveness.

But shouldn’t Sanchez’s be better than Ryan Tannehill’s? A 24-year-old rookie with nine career appearances? Or Weeden, Skelton or Matt Cassel’s for that matter?

You would think.

Regardless, it’s time for door number three. Behind it is Sanchez’s 52.0 completion percentage. Again, Sanchez is a 26-year-old former No. 5 overall pick with 56 career starts. It doesn’t matter how inept his supporting cast is: Shouldn’t that resume get you more than a completion percentage that’s the league's worst by 3.1 points? A number that’s 5.9 percent worse than Vince Young’s career mark.     

Sanchez is not completing passes at an unprecedented rate for a 21st century quarterback, particularly one with his pedigree.

Yet, his teammates — save for one — trash his backup, while his coach offers daily votes of confidence.

It begs the question, if the Jets weren’t going to bench Sanchez when he was at or near the bottom of the league in every meaningful statistical category during a season that was widely assumed to be make-or-break, why did they even waste a roster spot on a backup quarterback? Let alone one with Tim Tebow’s star power?

Perhaps it’s because trading for Tebow was a transparent publicity stunt? Or maybe the Jets’ "brain trust" is so desperate to avoid appearing desperate, it doesn’t realize just how desperate the situation has become?   

Whatever it is, one thing is still clear: Pete Carroll was wrong. When Sanchez declared for the 2009 Draft, Carroll infamously whined that Sanchez wasn’t yet ready for the NFL. As it turns out, Sanchez was never going to be ready. He just isn’t good enough.  

Here We Go Again...Again

Last week, it was Darren McFadden reminding people why he’d earned the often arbitrary and always hard to shake “injury prone” label.

Will it be Ryan Mathews this week? Mathews missed Wednesday’s practice with a neck issue, an injury he apparently picked up on the hit that ended Bucs LB Quincy Black’s season.

“He was pretty stiff,” coach Norval Turner said after practice. “He took a pretty good shot on that hit. We will see where he’s at tomorrow. Hopefully he will be alright, be able to practice tomorrow and play on Sunday.”

Turner’s words fell well short of guaranteeing Mathews will suit up for Week 11, but the good news is, he already played through the injury in Week 10. As with McFadden, it should never just be assumed that Mathews will play, but in this instance, it’s a safer bet than him not playing. Mathews’ status will be updated this afternoon.

Which Brings Us To DMC

More specially, McFadden’s timeline for a return. If you were listening to the Raiders, you would have believed McFadden is day-to-day, and that his status was in doubt until Friday last week.

If you listen to Jay Glazer, however, you’d know the Raiders anticipated a 2-4 week absence when McFadden went down in Week 9.

If you listen to history, you’d guess a player of McFadden’s slow-healing pedigree might be lucky to be back in six weeks. McFadden won’t be playing this weekend, and he should be considered extremely doubtful for Week 13.  

Back At Practice

Jordy Nelson and Darren Sproles were on Wednesday. Although both players were officially limited, the tea leaves suggest each will suit up Sunday.

According to Packers coach Mike McCarthy, Nelson looked like his “normal self." It’s doubtful McCarthy would make such a bold statement only to downgrade Nelson to out on Thursday.

As for Sproles, interim coach (or is it interim interim?) Joe Vitt said his scatback "was full-go in shells and looked good." He’s not going to miss his third straight game this weekend.   

Quick Slants: Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder/ribs) apparently could have died in Monday night’s game. Even though Terrell Suggs is convinced otherwise, Roethlisberger won’t play in Week 11, and will be lucky to suit up for Pittsburgh’s second tilt with Baltimore on December 2. He could reportedly be sidelined as long as six weeks. … Aaron Hernandez (ankle) was limited in Wednesday’s practice. Good luck finding out what that means. It will be another week of reading the tea leaves in New England. For now, they’re not suggesting anything one way or the other. … Pierre Garcon “could play” after returning to limited practice Wednesday, but we wouldn’t hold our breath. At least not yet. … Julio Jones (ankle) missed Wednesday’s practice, but the move appears purely precautionary. … Clay Matthews (hamstring) won’t suit up this week. … Although Brady Quinn (concussion) has been medically cleared, Matt Cassel will start against the Bengals. … Alex Smith (concussion) has been cleared for non-contact drills. Unlike Jay Cutler (concussion), he’s on pace to play Monday. … According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Bears are "not overly optimistic" about Cutler's status, though coach Lovie Smith believes he’s “getting better.” … Owen Daniels (hip) is on track to return Sunday. … Jeremy Maclin (back) is practicing in full.     

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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