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Mark Sanchez Offers a Reality Check

Offense needs to be better, but can it happen?



    Mark Sanchez Offers a Reality Check
    Getty Images
    Sanchez identifies the problem, but can he fix it?

    After 11 games of the 2011 season, there's little question that Rex Ryan oversold his team in the offseason.

    They aren't as talented as Ryan wanted everyone to believe and they don't execute as well as last year's team did on the way to the AFC Championship Game. Any good salesman will tell you that the last thing you want to do is overpromise and underdeliver, but that's just what Ryan has done to this point.

    And he's not stopping just because the team has barely scraped their way past .500 thus far. In the wake of Mark Sanchez turning in the ugliest four-touchdown performance in NFL history, Ryan couldn't stop himself from bubbling over with praise for a quarterback who did at least as much to lose the game as he did to win it.

    Sanchez is usually willing to play along with the head coach, but, to his credit, he didn't offer anything but a realistic read on the game. He went on ESPN radio Tuesday and said that the team isn't making the playoffs unless he and the offense play better in the final five weeks.

    "You can't win like that," he said. "That's not a winning formula."

    The quarterback is right, but there were some encouraging signs for the future during Sunday's game, starting with the play of the offensive line. The group did not look good in either of the two losses leading into the matchup with Buffalo, but they turned in the kind of effort that makes you think a better offensive game could come against the Redskins.

    While Sanchez was frittering away the Jets' chances through the first 55 minutes, the line was opening big holes for the running game. The Jets wound up running for six yards per carry, with both Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight finding daylight that should have resulted in a big time of possession edge for the Jets.

    It didn't, because Sanchez couldn't make the plays he needed to make, but he had every opportunity. Sanchez didn't face much in the way of pressure from the Bills defense, making his inability to make plays in the air even more disappointing because he had all the time in the world to make decisions.

    If the line can perform at that level against Washington this weekend, there's plenty of reasons to believe the offense can turn in a better effort than they did against the Bills. In fact, there's only one big reason to believe they can't be a more effective unit.

    That's Sanchez, of course, and there's just no way around the need to rely on him the rest of the way.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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