Mark Sanchez stinks. There are no two ways around it. He stunk up the entire 2011 NFL regular season, and nobody can tell me any different.
At least, that is the sentiment you can glean from a reasonable-sized chunk of Jets fan opinions lately. One could understand the anger behind this, because Jets fans were again denied an NFL championship, and had to watch the nightmare scenario once more – Patriots versus Giants – for the second time in half a decade.
Fast forward past a grievous period of rival success, and Mark Sanchez gets included in a list of likely scapegoats for failure. Quarterback, receiver, offensive coordinator, offensive line, running game, head coach. Sanchez made his lion’s share of mistakes to contribute to this unfortunate season. He held the ball too long on occasions. He got happy feet the moment he saw some defensive players inside of blocks. He threw the ball into coverage; on a few occasions, triple coverage. He didn’t look fired up on the sideline late in the season. He wasn’t elite. He quarterbacked a team to just miss the playoffs.
We are made to think that Mark Sanchez lost this season on his own, and is by the opinions of some holding an elite team away from success, and that a quarterback who has very recently undergone 4 neck surgeries in the past 12 months is going to save the day.
Peyton Manning had to have vertebrae fused together in order to even consider re-entering the field of play. Yet people will write Mark Sanchez off after having sustained nerve damage which affected his progress after a certain point in the season. A pinched nerve. No one gives Sanchez a pass for playing the 2011 season with nerve damage, and yet they are ready and willing to take a veteran QB in his late thirties after his spine was fused and he left the country to undergo experimental stem cell treatment. Has no TGG Reader ever experienced nerve damage? A pinched nerve? A stinger? A burner? It’s a paralyzing pain, by all accounts. Sterling Sharpe’s unfortunately short career can attest to it.
I have seen people scoff at the idea that Sanchez had a pinched nerve during the season, as if it were an after-the-fact excuse. I have told people about Sanchez coming up from the turf dead-armed and received only silence. This is not a fantasy excuse. Let’s look at a few excerpts from an article penned during the week leading to the Jets-Giants showdown in week 16, by one of the Jets’ biggest beat-writer detractors, ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini:
“The New York Jets all but acknowledged that Mark Sanchez is dealing with a pinched nerve in his right shoulder/neck area, but the quarterback refused to say much about the injury, which has flared up at least twice over the last five weeks…
…Sanchez crumpled to the turf Sunday on a mild body blow from Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin, who also grazed Sanchez's facemask with his helmet. Suddenly, his right arm seemed to go limp and he went down…
…Coach Rex Ryan said he's not alarmed that his quarterback experienced such discomfort on a relatively minor hit.
"With burners and stingers and things like that, it doesn't take (a big hit)," he said.
Asked if Sanchez has a stinger, slang for a pinched nerve, Ryan replied, "I probably shouldn't have said that. I'm not real sure, but it kind of looked that way to me at the time."
This is not damage control by a team that is trying to cover up bad play by a simply bad quarterback. These are multiple signs that a player is injured. Rex is the foot-in-mouth master when it comes to Jets press conferences, and that is not meant to be funny or punny. He often gets a look on his face that is comical when he realizes he has spoken about something that was meant as forbidden. The Pinched nerve is one of those things. Rex slipped, and luckily received a pass for it. From all but Cimini.
In the following paragraphs, I will discuss Mark Sanchez, Bruce Lee, Zidane, Jason Babin, Scott Cohen, and someone that may not be named Kate Upton. That last one may cost me dearly.
Mark Sanchez began the 2011 regular season with mixed results. I read a thread on this website's Jets Forum after week 13, contributed by a well-known and somewhat controversial member with the username Br4dw4y5ux, who detailed the surprising stats of an above average Jets quarterback. The stats that Sanchez had accumulated were these: 21 passing touchdowns, 5 rushing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 6 fumbles for loss. That is 26 touchdowns and 17 turnovers. Not too shabby behind a shaky offensive line with a dramatically different offense from the 2 previous years, although not an elite set of stats. But definitely above average under the circumstances. Things spiraled downhill from that point, but we'll get to that.
The early season performance of Mark Sanchez was reminiscent of his first two seasons, with visible improvement in the passing game and with improved escape ability in the pocket, that is, until the week 11 Thursday Night matchup against the Denver Broncos, in which Sanchez was sacked 3 times... and 4 days earlier, when Sanchez was sacked 5 times by the Patriots during a Sunday Night matchup. It was during the Broncos game that he suffered the reported nerve damage. Sanchez did not show immediate effects of this reported injury, and in the following 2 weeks, he threw zero interceptions, fumbled zero times, and wasn't sacked.
He followed this performance with a dramatic game against the Kansas City Chiefs, in which he scored 2 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns, but was sacked 3 more times, and fumbled once for a loss of possession. During at least 2 of those sacks, Sanchez got up from the turf visibly securing his throwing arm to his side.
And then, in the ill-fated matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, Sanchez went from above average quarterback to complete travesty. Before we get to what happened in the week leading up to the Jets' matchup with Philly, let's get to what happened during the game and following it. And to do that, we will need to consult our friends Bruce Lee and Zinedine Zidane. Yeah, I went there.
Bruce Lee and the One-Inch Punch.
Let's observe the possibility of blunt force trauma, provided with a short distance and minimal amount of forward momentum. Bruce Lee showed us that you can knock a man to the ground violently with the least amount of distance to your target, even punching a man in his deepest mass, the chest, hitting him with an extremity that has countless small and breakable bones – the human hand and wrist. It takes an experienced striker to avoid breaking his own wrist after delivering repeated blows with his fist. Bruce flattened a man at a tournament with one inch available to him. The following video details the One Inch Punch as well as the concept of short-distance strikes.
Zidane and the World Cup Head-Butt.
Zinedine Zidane, to those unfamiliar with international soccer, is a former highly-regarded player who finished his professional career following the 2006 World Cup final in a controversial fashion, when he responded to an on-field sleight by Italian rival Marco Materazzi by running in front of him, turning around, casually strolling up to Materazzi, and drilling the man in the center of his chest by propelling his head forward in an angry tribute to the Glasgow Kiss, knocking him violently to the pitch. Please observe:
You may be asking yourself, “Uh, hey, what does this crap have to do with the NFL or the Jets? Or Mark Sanchez?”
Well, we are talking about blunt force trauma, with such trauma being delivered without the NFL’s flashy element of flying-body momentum, but with calculated precision of the shoulders, neck and head of a player that, unlike Zidane, has been taught his entire life how to lead with his armor-plated head. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jason Babin, specifically.
The Eagles sacked Sanchez 4 times, and each time Sanchez pushed himself from the ground with his left hand while cradling his right in his lap. Not uncharacteristic of some very recent sacks Sanchez experienced, but he felt more pain in this game than any other in the season.
Babin had been a thorn in the side of the Jets during their week 15 matchup, earning 3 sacks during the game, but none of those sacks were seemingly as effective as during a 3rd quarter passing down when Sanchez released the ball too early, and Babin snuck inside unblocked, rode his lazy momentum toward the young quarterback and gave him a calculated shot to the left underside of the helmet shortly after the ball was released. Sanchez appeared stunned immediately, his throwing arm went limp, and he fell like a rag doll without attempting to brace himself. This hit was, by all appearances, harmless. Right? Babin didn’t fly at the kid like a missile. He just gave him a little shot. But after watching the play again, it was a shot where Babin grabbed Sanchez bodily and focused the crown of his helmet to one spot on his helmet, in a sharp, surgical shot that knocked Mark’s head quickly to the right. No call, of course, but who would expect it?
Let me show you a video narrated by a doctor of sport medicine, explaining pinched nerves, where they originate, what they affect, and what their treatment is… and then take a quick trip to Controversy Corner.
Let's get right to what the doctor talks about. Pinched nerves that affect the shoulder-arm area mainly occur in the upper spinal region, or neck, as a disk stressing a nerve or cluster of nerves. And common treatment for this is massage, often and early.
Mark Sanchez was eliminated from the NFL by the Eagles, with one intentional shot to the side of the head, to aggravate a pre-existing injury. One they likely knew about. But how? How did they know? And how did they out-maneuver the Jets and Cowboys with Nnamdi Asomugha at the eleventh hour, now that we’re wondering about Philly? How do they have Jets insider info? I could indicate former Eagles personnel man Scott Cohen, who is the current Jets Asst. General Manager, and is also who orchestrated the singularly masterful 2nd round pick for Lito Sheppard deal shortly after he arrived in Jets-town. I could wonder how the Jets’ personnel acquisition went from inspired to mediocre once Cohen took his current position...
…but let's leave that bigger conspiracy for another day. Right now we're talking about Mark Sanchez. So, let's talk about a report in the NY Post that emerged during week 15 of the NFL regular season:
“The handsome New York Jets quarterback, who led his team to a 37-10 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, was spotted with a beautiful brunette checking into the hotel at about 3 a.m. Tuesday.
A witness reports Sanchez’s companion was ‘a Spanish-looking brunette.’ She was seen leaving the Moderne at 8:30 a.m., when a chivalrous Sanchez walked her downstairs.
Our source told us, “He was dead-sober and very polite, said goodbye, and he went right upstairs.” But just two hours later, after Sanchez ordered room service for himself, a pretty blonde came to the Moderne to join him at about 10:45 a.m. and went up to his room. But the tryst didn’t last long — Sanchez and the woman left the hotel 45 minutes later.
‘He called at 11:30 for a car service to Jersey, and they both came down about 15 minutes later and left separately,’ our source told us. The usually dapper Sanchez — who was wearing sweatpants, a hoodie, vest and hat — walked out hurriedly, but politely.”
My friends, welcome to Jets Conspiracy Corner. Some people, myself included, theorized on the tabloid level that this was a young quarterback who had graduated from romancing high school girls the previous season to conquering a Victoria’s Secret supermodel (Kate Upton, blonde) and a fame-chasing ultra-skank (Kim Kardashian) both in the same night, dropping one into a taxi while wearing workout clothes, non-chalantly.
Let me now paint you a different picture. Mark Sanchez had a tryst with a woman, one that ended hastily, and afterward he escorted the girl to a cab. Shortly afterward, a woman shows up at his hotel room, spends 45 minutes with him, and he escorts her downstairs wearing sweats, in an uncharacteristically casual manner.
My first inclination was that this woman was a prostitute. A young man that romances high school girls doesn't just transform over the course of a year and then have the killer instinct to draw high-profile women (much less Victoria's Secret Supermodels) to his beckon call at the speed that Arthur Fonzarelli snaps his fingers.
And then the pinched nerve was made public. This blond wasn't a booty call and she wasn't a high-class hooker. I sincerely doubt she was Kate Upton, either. Mark tried to have some fun with the Spanish-looking brunette, a few nights after he took some punishment against the Chiefs, and he felt too much pain to seal the deal. So, he said goodbye quickly, went upstairs, and called his agent to schedule a masseuse to alleviate the pain his stinger was causing, because it was two days before he was supposed to play and he had already paid for the room.
And somehow the Eagles found out why. The cold-blooded precision of Babin's late headshot speaks to that.
Tell me I'm wrong.