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The Mark Sanchez Conundrum, Year Two

How much has the quarterback really improved?

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    Have you ever been in a relationship where your beloved did something that betrayed your trust? It happens to the best of us, and one of the hardest things to do is to figure out a way to trust that person again in the future.

    Are the Jets in that position with Mark Sanchez? Yes, according to Nick Collins of the Packers anyway.

    "I don’t think they trust him, the coaching staff,” Collins said. "They only have a select few plays they let him run. I don’t know what the deal is, but observing a quarterback like that on a great team with all those big names — you expect them to be going down the field."

    On the one hand, it is easy to understand why the Jets don't trust the Sanchize. All those interceptions last year cost them dearly and it wasn't until they took away his freedom, the equivalent of hiring a P.I. to make sure your partner isn't doing anything untoward, that the team reached its full potential.

    On the other hand, though, we were supposed to be past all of this stuff. Sanchez's run earlier this season showed that he could handle being given enough rope to hang himself without actually hanging himself. He was making smart decisions, hitting open receivers and avoiding turnovers. With all the weapons at his disposal, it seemed like the next step in development was right around the corner.

    And then, suddenly, the good play stopped. Sanchez has played three hideous games in a row, all since Santonio Holmes has been added to the receiver mix which contradicts any idea that more options would make for a better quarterback. He's completed less than 50 percent of his passes in two of the three games and it wasn't hard to see the reins being pulled in during the Green Bay game.

    The gut reaction to this is to say that Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer have gotten too conservative. Sanchez's few good moments in recent weeks have come on aggressive plays down the field, but those calls pop up much less often than screens and drags a few steps off the line of scrimmage. With all of the other problems in the offense against Green Bay, there is reason to think that Sanchez is getting hurt by circumstances.

    Examining the numbers, though, makes it much harder to simply shrug off Sanchez's results. He's completing roughly the same number of passes, he's averaging fewer yards per attempt and he's seen his productivity drop in the second halves of games. Even his drop in interceptions is somewhat dubious as the amount of passes he's had deflected has risen sharply. Better hands from opposing defensive backs would have eaten away at a lot of the goodwill Sanchez built up.

    Seven games into 2010 and it's pretty unclear that we've actually seen progress in the guy who holds a big chunk of this team's future in his hands.

    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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