By Josh Kramer
Training camp is always a fun time. It is when the men are separated from the boys. Team leaders rise to the forefront, and the less talented are tossed aside. It is the time when fan bases really begin to salivate in anticipation of early September (39 days until opening night). This year, ESPN has made it clear that the two places to be are Englewood, Colorado and Cortland, New York. Pretty obvious choices considering what happened during the NFL’s version of March Madness.
The Broncos picked up a four-time MVP and the Jets acquired the Kardashian of professional sports. Both of these teams shocked the NFL last season. One exceeded expectations, while the other failed miserably. A main reason for the Jets becoming a monumental disappointment this past season was the poor performance of quarterback Mark Sanchez down the stretch. Some of the criticism was warranted, while some was not. Well Sanchez doesn’t appear to be letting any of it get him down. If anything, the criticism has brought him up.
Mark Sanchez has been the New York Jets starting quarterback for the past three seasons. Two of those years resulted in appearances in the AFC Championship Game. In New York City, with Rex Ryan as the head coach, this is not even close to enough. Ironically, the numbers Mark Sanchez posted as a whole have improved each season he has been under center (check the stats). This is a “what have you done for me lately league” though, and Mark Sanchez failed miserably in Weeks 15-17 last season. The former Trojan star threw seven interceptions and completed just 56% of his passes during a three-game losing skid that cost the Jets a playoff spot. To add insult to injury, the Jets picked up the most talked about athlete of our generation (arguably), Tim Tebow, in March.
Many would have crept into a corner and hid. After playing horrible during the last month of the season, failing to make the playoffs, and having a figure like Tebow enter the fold, things looked bleak for a player who once had a very promising career. Not so fast though. Mark Sanchez appears to be doing all of the right things despite a pressure-packed situation.
Sanchez took it upon himself to get better and really gain the trust of his teammates. He had the team out to the West Coast to train during the off-season. Now he appears to be extremely sharp in training camp, plus he is saying all of the right things both on and off the field. Plus, the way he handled this ridiculous question the other day was highly impressive.
Sanchez is handling a very tough situation in stride. He has the look of a savvy veteran ready to take the next step.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.