Newly-signed Denver Broncos QB Mark Sanchez, has definitely had his share of ups and downs since he was drafted by the New York Jets in 2009 as the 5th pick overall out of USC. Actually, it’s been more downs than ups in his seven-year career. Probably, the worst of those down moments was the infamous ‘Butt Fumble’ in 2012 against the Patriots. A moment Sanchez will never live down. However, his ups have actually been pretty darn good, including a 60 percent completion percentage through six playoff games with the Jets in 2009 and 2010. The 2010 playoff run included an AFC Divisional Playoff win over Tom Brady and the Patriots. Those Jets’ teams coached by current Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, were built around their defense. Those teams ended the season in the AFC Championship Game. A step short of reaching the Super Bowl. Now, Sanchez is a member of another team that’s built around it’s defense. That team is still celebrating winning a Super Bowl, just a couple of months ago. However, the Broncos are in search of the QB that will ultimately replace retired legend and future hall of famer, Peyton Manning. Is it out of the realm of possibility that Sanchez could be good enough to help this defense-laden Broncos squad repeat? Absolutely not.
Those talented Jets’ defenses in 2009 and 2010 were led by the likes of Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, Bart Scott, Shaun Ellis. and Antonio Cromartie. Rex Ryan, believed in a strong, physical defense. With this group, he got just that. However, Sanchez was probably the biggest beneficiary. The Jets offense could finish no better than middle of the pack both seasons (17th in 2009, 13th in 2010) in scoring at 22 and 21 points per game, respectively. The Jets largely lived on a running game led by LaDainian Tomlinson. Meanwhile, Sanchez completed only 54 percent of his passes, throwing to receivers like Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes.
A far cry from the the 60 percent clip he enjoyed in the playoffs. Sanchez, was a rookie in 2009. So, his mediocre stats were somewhat understandable. But, mediocre isn’t a word that should be associated with a top 5 pick. Especially, one that was looked at as a can’t miss prospect out of USC. Needless to say, Sanchez came in to the NFL with a lot of hype after playing in Pete Carroll’s offense. In both playoff appearances, it began to look like Sanchez would live up to that hype. Problem is there has been little to no improvement, since. However, despite not living up to the hype, it’s still not crazy to think Sanchez can be a successful QB in the NFL. He has decent size, he’s somewhat mobile in the pocket, he has a strong enough arm, and he still has those nice playoff appearances in his back pocket. The question would be, can he take care of the football? If he can, the Broncos can absolutely win a Super Bowl with him as the signal-caller. They just won one with Peyton Manning, who was a shell of himself. You could almost argue that even Sanchez would be an upgrade at this point.
The Broncos are still said to be pursuing other options at QB. Ironically, one of those options is current Jets QB and free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick, who in 2015 enjoyed his best season as a pro. However, the Broncos (and Jets for that matter) seem very reluctant to pay the amount Fitzpatrick is reportedly requesting. If the Broncos do sign another QB, Fitzpatrick seems like the best choice. The Broncos don’t need a superstar to lead their offense. They need someone who will make some plays, but will most importantly put an emphasis on taking care of the football. They shouldn’t have to score too much. Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, and defensive end DeMarcus Ware are back, and so is that devastating pass rush. The Broncos D had one of the more dominating playoff runs we’ve ever seen. Due in large part to their pass rush. Future hall of fame QB’s ‘Big‘ Ben Roethlisberger, and Tom Brady looked below average at best, and current NFL MVP Cam Newton, showed none of the form that he had shown all season. A season where the Carolina Panthers surprised everyone with their nearly perfect regular season, and convincing playoff victories over the powerful Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals.
To say it was a bit of a surprise when the Broncos signed Sanchez, would be an understatement. But at that moment, it was still very doubtful Sanchez would be the starter. It’s still questionable. But, it’s a lot more conceivable now since the Broncos are yet to sign anyone else. Could the Broncos draft a QB? Probably. But, it’s probably not going to be a particularly high pick. Even if it is, this year’s crop of QB’s out of college lacks any can’t miss – start from day one prospects. So, the reality for BroncoNation could be that Sanchez will be the man. It’s very understandable if Broncos fans want to throw up at just the thought. However, thinking back to those playoff runs with the Jets or even a few bright moments with the Philadelphia Eagles over the last couple of seasons might help calm your stomach. At any rate, don’t fret BroncoNation. You still have the NFL’s best defense to lean on. As long as, Mark Sanchez knows that – if he is indeed the starter, your Broncos could very well repeat as Super Bowl champs…
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