It's safe to say Mark Sanchez has received a lot of criticism this offseason.
Receiving criticism from players such as Steve Weatherford on a recent NFL.com podcast, the acquisition of Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos, the media has had a field day with Mark Sanchez. Turn on First Take on ESPN2 every morning and most likely, you will be hearing Skip Bayless calling for Tebow to replace Sanchez. Through it all, Sanchez has remained a class act and has responded to every question aimed at him with the utmost respect.
The media has backed Sanchez against a wall with all the attention focused on Tebow, and it may come back to bite them.
With the media calling for Tebow to start, Sanchez will produce the best numbers of his career in 2012 and make the media regret doubting him.
Great players perform their best when their backs are against the wall, and Sanchez wants to show the world why he considers himself a great quarterback. With that said, Sanchez has a lot of motivation fueling him to perform his best this upcoming season.
Based off his history and past experience, Sanchez is capable of shining. Don't forget what happened at USC in 2008, when Sanchez was the front-runner for the starting job. He faced strong competition from Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain in the spring, but won the job and produced great numbers, winning the Rose Bowl while being named the MVP. Sanchez played at a top level in his only season as a full-time starter, and that was enough to convince the New York Jets to take him with the fifth overall pick in 2009.
With all the media focusing on criticizing Sanchez and pulling for Tebow, people seem to forget that he has improved year after year since his rookie season in 2009. While he threw a career high 18 interceptions, Sanchez threw for career highs in touchdowns (26), completion percentage (56.7), yards (3,474), and QB rating (78.2), far better than his rookie and sophomore campaign. Sanchez also led his team to four fourth quarter comebacks and four game-winning drives, showing he can get the job done.
While his numbers in 2011 don't reflect that of an elite quarterback, they show his improvement and progression. Keep in mind that Sanchez has not had a year to sit on the bench, he was thrust into the starting job upon being drafted.
And with just three years in the NFL, Sanchez has also shown the leadership that the media praise so much about Tebow. Already a team captain, Sanchez holds offseason camps in California and even managed to to organize private workouts with over 40 of his teammates during the NFL labor dispute during the 2011 season.
With already a stronger arm than Tebow, Sanchez shows more qualities to succeed and become the man in New York. The criticism he has received was not fair, and should have been on his teammates. With a strained locker room even Tebow wouldn't be able to patch, the questionable play-calling of Brian Schottenheimer, and the apparent lack of hustle by some of the receivers, the Jets were just doomed to fail, no matter how well Sanchez played.
This will be Mark Sanchez's year. With everyone against him, Sanchez will rise and play up to the media's expectations. Already preparing for the season, Sanchez has also taken attempts to build team chemistry, inviting competing quarterback Tim Tebow to his "Jets West" offseason camp.
With three years under the belt and enormous pressure from the media, Sanchez will thrive in 2012 and prove everyone including the media wrong. He will thrive in his fourth season and dispel all talk of Tebow replacing him.
Mark Sanchez is one of the more talented quarterbacks in the league, and his fourth year in the NFL will be his coming out party into the top-tier of quarterbacks.