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Mark Sanchez Reminds Us Jets Season Has Much to Do With Mark Sanchez

Has Mark Sanchez improved enough to lead the Jets where they want to go?

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    Darrelle Revis is working out at a gym in Pennsylvania and Calvin Pace needs surgery on his foot, but Rex Ryan isn't letting anything affect his good feelings about the Jets defense.

    "I have a lot of confidence in guys we have still. We have guys that can rush the passer and play man coverage. I'm not nearly as concerned as maybe other people."

    And other people aren't nearly as concerned about the defense as they are about an offense that has looked like it needs another couple of months of training camp to get ready for the regular season. The starting unit went 15 possessions without a touchdown before scoring one against Redskins second-teamers in the fourth quarter on Friday, a state of affairs that has taken the spotlight off of Revis and returned it squarely on Mark Sanchez.

    It isn't revealing much to like. Sanchez threw a red zone pick on Friday that was directly a result of his locking onto Dustin Keller and throwing a ball into a risky zone of the field. It was the kind of play that we saw far too often in 2009, a big mistake that undermined the advantages that the running game and defense give the Jets on most Sundays.

    That was the big mistake, but hardly the only one and hardly the only concerning thing about Friday's performance. His footwork still leaves much to be desired and his tendency to not follow through on his throws is something that shouldn't be happening at this point in time. Sanchez and the receivers rarely appear to be on the same page and many times they seem to be reading from different books altogether.

    All troubling stuff, especially since Sanchez isn't going to have any more meaningful game work before facing the Ravens in Week One. The hopes that the wraps were going to come off the quarterback and create a more potent offense need to be dialed back and Sanchez still needs to be treated like a player who can do the team harm if left to his own devices.

    Can they win with such a quarterback? The running game appears to be fully fit and ready to do much of the heavy lifting again this season, a silver lining to the dark cloud that's hovered over the offense this summer but not enough of one to make you feel confident about answering that question in the affirmative.  

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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