Slide, don’t slide. It seems as if people are going crazy over the most trivial things. Mark Sanchez’ decision to dive head first for a first down in the Jets 19-13 win over Buffalo last Thursday night was way overblown.
Unfortunately, Rex Ryan doesn’t agree and has decided to start Kellen Clemens on Sunday.
Sure, Sanchez could’ve jeopardized his season with a more serious injury. But it’s football. And players get hurt every game. Playing to avoid injuries is exactly what causes injuries. The Jets real concern should be avoiding a letdown against the 1-11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Jets real concern should be trying to take advantage of the Patriots losing to the Dolphins and opening the door in the division.
The Jets are still alive folks. And their remaining schedule -at Tampa Bay, home against Atlanta, at Indianapolis and home against Cincinnati- is not impossible. But for the Jets (6-6) to stay in the hunt, they can’t worry about Sanchez sliding or diving. They have to worry about getting his head on straight. Outside of one bad interception against Carolina a couple of weeks ago, Sanchez has been pretty efficient the past two games.He’s completed 20 of 32 passes for 258 yards one TD and one interception. In other words, Ryan has put his franchise quarterback on a short leash. Holding on to the ball forever, being lose with it, passing on first and second down have all but been eliminated from Sanchez’ repertoire. The Jets position as a playoff contender is not fool’s gold. The defense has played well this season and the running game has been stellar. This is actually a good team. It’s a very good team if the quarterback is playing mistake-free football. Sanchez was playing like that the first three weeks of the season. The Jets need to focus on getting him to play like he did against the Texans, Patriots and Titans in weeks one through three.Publicly admonishing him for diving for a first down instead of sliding to avoid a hit is nonsense. The Jets need to let the kid play the game. They can’t let him go crazy, but as former NBA player and coach Fred Carter once told me “You should never to stifle talent”.