Monday, October 22, 2012

Sanchez Continues Rookie Mistakes

Mark Sanchez is not a rookie.  Far from it at this point of winning multiple playoff games for his New York Jets.  Those playoff wins were grealy attributed to the team's stellar defense and to Sanchez's abiltiy to manage the offense.  I liked Sanchez coming out of USC because he did a nice job of anticipating his throws, so he looked like a more veteran player, even though he hadn't started all that many games for USC to come out a year early.  I had this discussion with Jon Gruden at a park while we watched our sons practice flag football with each other prior to the NFL Draft that also included Matt Stafford, the eventual first pick.  I thought Stafford depended on his strong arm too much and did not anticipate well.  Stafford had evolved in his development as a QB in the NFL and does a much better job of anticipating his throwing lanes and windows much better than he did a few years ago, but the problem for Mark Sanchez is he continues to make rookie mistakes far too often in games.
Last night Sanchez and the Jets battled the New England Patriots to overtime and when Sanchez was in the grasp of one defender being sacked, falling backwards and almost on the ground, he attempts to throw the ball as a second defender is crushing him from the front and he fumbles the ball.  He does silly things like that every game it seems.  He doesn't take care of the ball in critical situations and it has cost the Jets dearly.  Sanchez must start understanding the importance of ball security and that taking the sack to punt and play defense is better than giving the game away on a single play or the Jets are going to figure out that Tebow's offensive style may not be as sexy, but its ball control ways allows the team a chance to win at the end.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Gunslingers Shoot It Out In Big D

Tony Romo and Jay Cutler are cut from the same quarterback cloth.  They are both extremely talented and both play extremely risky football.  Sometimes those risks pay off with big plays and sometimes they blow up in their faces.  Last night Jay Cutler's risks paid off with the big plays and Romo's blew up in the his and the Cowboys' faces.
The two quarterbacks are play similar football, but come at it from very different personality profiles.  Romo has the easy-going, "it's going to be OK", look, while Cutler is the brooding, cursing, fit-throwing passer.  Both are going to be fabulous at times and ugly-as-all-get-out at times.  I would rather be around the easy-go-lucky guy than the other option, if I had a choice, but neither team does. 
Can either of them reach the pinnacle of wild play-making and reach the Super Bowl like the future Hall-Of-Famer Brett Favre?  Either could probably get hot and put a three or four game stretch together in the playoffs, but the odds are very low for either, since their hot play must coincide with their defense playing their best at the same time.
At the beginning of the season, I asked the question if this is Romo's last ride and unless he pulls it together very quickly, it probably will be.  And for Cutler, people will put up with unhappy people for a little while or while they are winning, but unless the Chicago Bears go deep in the playoffs, it will probably be a short run in the windy city for him as well.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jets Answer: Sanchez + Tebow

The New York Jets are starting to relive too many of their years past, dropping their last game 34-0.  They started a soap opera in the off-season by trading for Tim Tebow, the left-handed H-Back and even though they are 2-2, it has looked bad enough to feel like they are 0-4.  Head Coach Rex Ryan can feel it and anyone watching his post-game press conference knows he feels it.
While not seeing every snap of every game, I'm not sure of Tebow's exact play count thus far, but I have seen them take Sanchez off the field and use him as a true "wildcat" QB a few times.  I have also seen them leave Sanchez on the field and use Tebow as a decoy receiver, but the answer for the Jets woes is to use both of them on the field, but to motion Tebow into the backfield like a running back and use him as a slash player.  Half the time pitch it to him and let him be a dangerous runner on the edge with the ability to throw the ball and the other half a decoy.  On those decoy throws, a quick passing game for Sanchez and other runs to their running backs will all be more successful as the defense absolutely has to react to Tebow's pre-snap movement into the backfield.  If Tebow's 250 pound body takes a pitch on the move to his left, there better be quick support from both LB's and DB's, or he will gain a lot of yards on the edge and when they come up to help and abandon the WR's and TE's for run support, he can flip it over the top.  And done quickly and correctly, the defensive front must also react and then create different creases for their running backs.
So many of the teams that have some form of the "wildcat" take their normal QB off the field, but keeping that QB and using an athletic QB in motion will create more big plays than what it has in its original form.