Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Morning Quarterback: Sanchez, Eli and VY

Lots of quarterbacks made big noise yesterday, for better or for worse.

Mark Sanchez (Jets)

Sanchez is really starting to come into his own over the last few weeks, posting three straight games with a completion percentage above 56, something he did just three times in the season's first seven games. That's not the most impressive stat ever but more importantly, he has led the Jets on game-winning drives in each of those games, none more unlikely than the one he led yesterday against Houston.

The Jets were up 16 heading into the fourth quarter, but allowed 20 unanswered points to the Texans and found themselves down 27-23 with under a minute to play and no timeouts. With the stadium emptying fast, Sanchez completed two short passes to LaDainian Tomlinson before throwing a strike to Braylon Edwards between two defenders to set up a six-yard fade to Mr. Clutch himself, Santonio Holmes, for the game-winner.

Last year, it was the Jets defense and running game bailing out the turnover-prone rookie quarterback. This year, the defense is faltering in key situations and the running game hasn't averaged over 4.0 yards-per-carry since October but Sanchez has been there to pick them up. For all the Sanchez doubters heading into the season, there are just as many people now seeing just how good this kid can be.

Eli Manning (Giants)

You had to see this one coming, no? Manning is doing his best Mark Sanchez circa 2009 impression, with 18 turnovers (16 interceptions, 2 fumbles) in the first 10 games of 2010. As a result, the Giants have lost two straight after rolling scrub teams for a few weeks and are 6-4, on the outside looking in to the playoffs since the 7-3 Packers, Saints and Bucs are currently battling for the two NFC Wild Card spots.

I know losing the always-reliable Steve Smith has affected Manning, but he is just making stupid throws at bad times. Many of his interceptions earlier this season were deflected balls off his receivers' hands but over the past few weeks, these picks are on him.

People want to toss all the blame on Hakeem Nicks for the pick-six against Dallas, but Bryan McCann jumped the route and Manning didn't pull back and throw elsewhere. Nicks didn't finish a covered route, but a great quarterback (this Manning is only "good") recognizes the play isn't there and goes in another direction.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention his fourth-down fumble. Hey Eli, have you ever heard of sliding? If you hit the ground and fumble on a slide, the play is dead. If you half dive-half slide forward like the awkward athlete you are when you run with the football and fumble without even being touched, it's a fumble! And a loss for your team.

Vince Young (Titans)

While the first two quarterback on this list will keep that team affiliation next to their name for years to come, I'm not so sure Young is in a Tennessee uniform much longer. After hurting his thumb and getting pulled from Sunday's game, he continued to prove he's about as mature as fellow Class of 2006 quarterback Matt Leinart, throwing his jersey and shoulder pads into the stands and reportedly telling Jeff Fisher he wasn't walking out on his teammates, but on him.

Really Vince? Fisher is one of those coaches you don't mess with; he always has his players' backs and has been one of the league's finer coaches over the past decade. Young has one year left on his contract and the Titans will have a big decision to make. His 98.6 passer rating doesn't tell the whole story; Young has 10 touchdowns and 6 turnovers (but just 3 interceptions) in 9 games this year.

I still think Young can be a viable NFL quarterback, but the bloom is coming off his rose. It's hard to envision him becoming a star anymore, he just doesn't make enough plays with his arm or even his feet; he has just 125 yards and no touchdowns on the ground this year. He's not good enough throwing the football to make up for that lack of ground work and if the Titans feel the same way, they may cut their ties with the former Texas star unless he and Fisher can work out their differences.


  1. Obviously I'll defend Eli here... He was/is missing 2 starting offensive linemen as well as Steve Smith (his go-to receiver).
    Boss could have easily gotten PI in the endzone on that first fieldgoal.
    The Giants were up 17-16 and then JPP got called for a bad offsides, where a) he wasn't offsides and b) Vick should have been called for intentional grounded.. that would have made it 4th and long, but instead they turned around and got the TD..
    If that doesn't happen maybe the Giants win.. and if they win does Eli get critized? That 3rd pick shouldn't count either as he was just trying to make something happen..
    Yeah, he should have held onto the ball during the dive (no argument there), but that rule is stupid.. he was clearly giving himself up. Whether feet first or not, the intent is still clearly there.. what ever happened to "the ground can't cause a fumble"?

  2. The ground can't cause a fumble...when you're contacted by a defender. Nobody touched him and since he can get right back up and keep running, it's still a live play and a live ball, hence the fumble.

    There's a reason they lead the NFL in turnovers and it's because Eli takes unnecessary risks. The Giants are a good enough team to be 6-4 with 30 turnovers, if they cut that in half they could easily be 8-2. Some argument goes for the Chargers.

  3. I know about the fumble rule.. just making a point..

    they lead in turnovers because the receivers pop balls into the air (at least 8 of his picks were off his receivers hands) and because Ahmad has 6 fumbles and Jacobs has probably another 4.. it's not all on Eli... and yes, they could have a better record (and should have won last night), but sometimes the breaks don't go your way.. (and sometimes they do - ie the Jets).

    Season isn't over.. - though we do have A LOT of work to do...

  4. Going to be tough to do that work without Smith and now Nicks. I know a lot of his picks have been drops but some of them have also been difficult catches in traffic...again, unnecessary risks.