You couldn't swing a dead cat this summer without hitting someone telling you that it was imperative that Mark Sanchez showed marked improvement as a quarterback this season. Because of that we thought we'd check in weekly to see how the Sanchize is progressing toward that goal.
We might as well go straight to the source for a quick summary of where things stand after the Jets' totally demoralizing 17-13 loss to the Broncos.
"It’s just an embarrassing day for me," Mark Sanchez said after the game. "I hurt the team and lost the game."
We could just end things right there because it pretty much says it all. Sanchez has played so poorly in the last two weeks that it doesn't even feel hyperbolic to hear people talking about whether or not the Jets can move forward with him as their starting quarterback.
It is hyperbolic, though, because there's no way that the Jets make a change at quarterback unless things get even worse from this point. That said, things can't continue like this for much longer.
Sanchez made just an inexcusably awful throw on the interception by Andre Goodman that gave the Broncos a chance to win the game in the final minutes.
He stared down Plaxico Burress like he was the hottest girl in a bar and got shot down just as easily as if he went over to talk to her by starting with a moldy pick-up line that has never actually worked in human existence.
On a night when the offense simply needed to not give the game away, that's exactly what Sanchez did with that throw. And he couldn't make up for it at any other point in the game to get the team the points they needed to put the game on ice and escape to fight another day.
This has become a running theme this season. In all five of the team's losses, Sanchez has failed to step up into the crucible the way he did in his first two seasons. There have been periods of good play along the way, but the big moments keep crushing Sanchez and the Jets.
All of the blame for the ineptitude of the Jets offense can't be laid at Sanchez's feet nor is he the only party at fault for the two losses.
The offensive line has been awful, the running game is not holding up its end of the bargain, the off-season moves gutted the unit of too many key players and Brian Schottenheimer should be gone regardless of what happens over the final six weeks of the season.
But Sanchez still has to be better. He has to be able to stand up to pressure and make plays instead of curling up at the first sign of a pass rush.
He has to be less obvious about where he's going with the ball and he needs to become a much more consistent passer if the team is ever going to improve offensively.
And it needs to happen immediately because this season is on the brink of turning into a nightmare. No one should be giving up on Sanchez, he's done too many good things to be written off completely, but he cannot keep showing signs that he's regressing as a quarterback.
That's what has happened the last two weeks, leaving the Jets at a crossroads in both the season and the development of their most important offensive player.
The good thing about hitting rock bottom is that there's nowhere to go but up. The Jets better hope that Thursday night's thud was rock bottom for their leader.