The Arizona Cardinals finished the job the butt fumble couldn’t — ending the Mark Sanchez era in New York.
After three and a half years, 78 turnovers and exponentially diminishing returns, it was Sanchez’s three picks and 21.4 QB rating that got him benched in the third quarter of Sunday’s win.
Of course, it probably wouldn’t have been a win if Sanchez had anything more to say about it. It was second-year seventh-round pick Greg McElroy who led the Jets on their lone scoring drive.
In a way, it was fitting. After all, it was a sixth-round pick in Ryan Lindley who Sanchez had been matching wits with before his banishment to the bench. The Sanchize couldn’t out-duel a rookie who would go on to finish his day 10-of-31 for 72 yards.
Now, it’s McElroy whom the Jets are “leaning” toward starting in Week 14, and Sanchez who’s teetering on the brink of something he’s long been inching toward: irrelevancy.
Once you bench a former first-round pick, you rarely go back, and though Sanchez has $8.25 million in guaranteed money lined up for 2013, consider the skids greased.
Even if the Jets turn back to Sanchez against the Jaguars, his protector — GM Mike Tannenbaum — will be gone in the offseason, and his credibility long past shot.
Compared to other first-round wipeouts, Sanchez got an eternity to prove himself, but his fate will be the same. The dream is over. For Sanchez, for Tannenbaum, for a mostly exciting era of Jets football.
Unless Tim Tebow turns water into wine, it will be McElroy starting in Jacksonville, and Sanchez wondering if he’ll be Rod Graves’ next stopgap in Arizona.
Young, Dumb And Not Much Else
There are only 64 starting receiver jobs in the NFL, ergo there are only 64 starting receiver jobs in the entire world.
There are only six starting receiver jobs that feature quarterbacks who threw for over 5,000 yards in 2011.
There are only two starting receiver jobs that come along with a signal caller who’s leading the league in passing.
Titus Young, a 23-year-old second-year pro out of a Mountain West school, had all three.
Now, he has none. In a rise and fall that would make Maurice Clarett blush, Young has thrown away one of the best chances anyone in his profession could ever get, and done so despite no shortage of second chances.
He didn’t heed the calls to get it together when he was benched for shoving Saints CB Malcolm Jenkins last December. He tuned out further still when he was reprimanded for head-butting Rams CB Janoris Jenkins in Week 1.
Then, he was sent home for Week 12 — Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving moment in the sun — after sabotaging the final drives of the Lions’ narrow Week 11 loss to division rival Green Bay.
That alone would have been reason enough for the Lions to cut bait and never look back. Instead, they give Young one more shot, one he’d be in prime position to take advantage of after his replacement, Ryan Broyles, was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Instead, Young did what he always does: screw things up.
"I certainly believe in second chances," Lions coach Jim Schwartz began Monday. "There's no greater story in the NFL, or in professional sports, then redemption and people that overcome situations and things like that. I think we all hold out hope that guys can do that, but you need to make the most of the opportunities you have. When you have an issue, or something that occurs, and you do get a second chance, and you're welcomed back, you have to do everything to take advantage of that opportunity. I think in this case, that didn't happen."
Schwartz’s damning indictment of Young came after he revealed “(Young) will not part of our wide receiver mix (this Sunday). … He's not with the team right now. If I have any further updates, I'll let (you) know.”
In a league that bends over backwards to hand out reprieves — and on a team that aids and abets Ndamukong Suh — Young has worn out his welcome after only 26 games.
If Young can’t make it on a team that doesn’t care about things like who’s “Texan worthy” — specifically one that’s lost two No. 2 receivers for the year in Broyles and Nate Burleson — his NFL future is dimmer than the light bulb that appears to be burning out in his head.
Monday Night Football Quick Slants: Consider Eli Manning’s arm sprightly and well rested. … The same goes for Pierre Garcon’s foot. Although he’s still playing through pain, you wouldn’t know it from his past two games, where Garcon has combined for 13 catches, 199 yards and two touchdowns. His 106 yards Monday evening represented 65 percent of Robert Griffin III’s passing total. Garcon is a moderate-risk, high-reward WR2/3 for the fantasy playoffs. … RGIII? Pete Prisco isn’t impressed, but we’re guessing Tom Coughlin is. With four games to go, the No. 2 overall pick is on pace for 3,546 yards through the air, 952 on the ground and 30 total touchdowns. His six turnovers are 15 fewer than Andrew Luck’s 21. Griffin is the real deal, and potentially, a budding legend. … David Wilson still hasn’t won Tom Coughlin’s heart. Making his first appearance since Andre Brown was lost for the season, Wilson touched the ball just four times, gaining 13 yards. He ceded some third-down snaps to Kregg Lumpkin, who was signed last Tuesday. Wait ‘til next year.
Quick Slants: The Eagles will stick with Nick Foles at quarterback for the rest of 2012. A major obstacle in Michael Vick’s path to Buffalo has been cleared. … Jordy Nelson (hamstring) will be “hard pressed” to suit up for Week 14. Around and around the receiver carousel in Green Bay goes. … The 49ers are sticking with Colin Kaepernick in Week 14. … Julian Edelman (foot) is set to miss an “extended” amount of time. It sounds like the deck is stacked against him playing again this season. … The Vikings still aren’t considering benching Christian Ponder. … The Cardinals have no idea whom they’ll start at quarterback in Week 14. We hope it’s not Ryan Lindley. … Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) is “very questionable” for Sunday. He’s running out of time to make an impact in 2012.