No disagreement that Jets’ rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez is having a rough patch right now, but shouldn’t we be cutting him a little slack while he goes through his learning process? Or stated another way, is Sanchez’s first year really worse than those of other celebrated New York rookies?
For instance, let’s compare Sanchez in 2009 to Eli Manning in 2004. Sanchez is 4-6, while Eli was 1-6 in his first seven starts. Pending Sunday’s game with the Carolina Panthers, Sanchez has completed 52.1 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. In Eli’s rookie season, he completed just 48.2 percent of his passes with six TDs and nine ints. Manning had a dismal 5.3 yards per pass average, while so far Sanchez is maintaining a respectable 6.8.
In fact, Sanchez’s numbers look good compared to another highly touted rookie, Joe Namath. In 1965, Namath was 3-5-1 in his first nine starts and completed just 48.2 percent of his passes (the same as Eli), and his yards per throw average, 6.5, was slightly below Sanchez’s now.
In other words, while it’s hell for Jets fans to endure the losses as Sanchez learns the ropes, there’s nothing in his numbers so far to indicate that he can’t eventually be as good Joe or Eli. Note to the boo-birds: a little patience might ease the way.