When the New York Jets traded up to draft Mark Sanchez, fifth overall, in the 2009 NFL draft, they expected much more in return. In contrast, the Miami Dolphins appear to have caught lightning in a bottle with Ryan Tannehill. Sanchez is now in his fourth season and has started 54 regular season games for New York. This season, he has a QB rating of 74.6, which is very close to his atrocious career mark of 73.4. After 6 starts, Tannehill has a QB rating of 76.5 but has had a rating of 86.5 or higher in 4 of his 6 starts, including a score of 112 against the St. Louis Rams.
Sanchez apologists, mostly Jet fans, claim he has a 30-24 regular season record and has played in two AFC Championship games. The truth is that with the defense the Jets had in 2009 and 2010, they may have won a Super Bowl with an average quarterback. Some say Sanchez has no weapons but didn’t most pundits claim that Miami had the worst receivers in the league? Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are now world-beaters because of Tannehill. Some say Sanchez exhibits flashes of brilliance but, truthfully, any NFL quarterback, starter or not, can make a good throw every once in a while. It is consistent accuracy and the ability to read defenses that distance the great signal-callers from the pack. Sanchez does not have either and is likely in his last season as a starter. The Jets made a horrible mistake in 2009 and it is time to move on.
While most PhinPhanatics wanted Miami to draft Tannehill, eighth overall, this year, he came in with less fanfare than Sanchez in 2009. He was sold as a project with a high ceiling. It now appears that he is much more.
This Sunday will showcase two franchises headed in different directions. As the Jets plummet into the depths of NFL irrelevancy, a place they know well, the Dolphins are rising. As Tannehill outduels Sanchez, Rex Ryan will be singing.
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