Mark Sanchez Is Bound for the “Sophomore Slump”In college it is common for sophomores to experience a feeling of disconnectedness with college life, aka “the sophomore slump”. After putting on the “freshman 15”, many students look down at themselves wondering how they let themselves go for so long. That same kind of phenomenon is experienced in the NFL as well. It is the elephant that is in the room for any second-year player and even though it is not talked about anywhere, it is indeed a real thing.Will the New York Jets second-year QB Mark Sanchez experience that this season? I certainly think so. Some players like Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson never see it, but then there are players like Matt Ryan, who went through a sophomore slump this past season.
It was made public that Sanchez was held back in his rookie year, but now offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will open up the play book more for Sanchez and let him make more calls too. Even though Sanchez looks good on paper, he needs to transition that onto better play on the field too. Sanchez has a new weapon on the outside with Santonio Holmes, but there is that chance that he hits the slump and hits it hard.Mark Sanchez joined ESPN Radio New York to talk about what grade he would give his preseason so far, which Mark Sanchez people can expect to see this year, and whether LaDainian Tomlinson has exceeded his expectations.
What grade he would give his preseason so far:
“I thought B-, C+, being critical of a couple of those that I want back and then having a couple of drives stall. Overall as an offense it wasn’t great for us but I feel like there are a lot of positives to build on, learn, we are going to be excited to get Antonio back whenever he comes back and then we saw some great things from the running game. So a lot to build on, we are excited to start the year. Not my best preseason but it will get better when it counts.”
Which Mark Sanchez people can expect to see this year:
“Well I think one that is making better decisions that is for sure, over a long period of time and more consistent. Consistency has been the drive this entire camp and offseason. Staying sharp with my reads and not slipping, my routine, sticking to a routine where last year I was trying out a couple of different routines during the year so it was making things a little more difficult for us, but when we finally got one we really liked we went with that and that is when things started to turn around for us at the end of the year. I think the decision-making will be most important and that is what I will focus on.”
Whether the lack of experience at left guard is going to be a problem for him:
“Well I think just like last year my teammates had to get used to me playing and it was my first year. They definitely helped me out when they could any chance they got. I know we will help out either Slauson or Vlad. Slauson is really making a push for that job as of late. He has really done a good job. I don’t think it is going to be a problem for us. I know that we have two great linemen on his right and left in Mangold and Bricks, so I think that will help whoever is in there. We just need to be ready to play and that person needs to carry their weight and I think they will.”
How he has been able to get comfortable with Santonio Holmes during practice knowing that he is out the first 4 games of the season:
“I think him coming out to California when we had our Jets out West Camp, it was huge because we kind of got a chance to work kind of on our own and get our timing down. I can’t tell you how many throws that I have missed to him at that camp and I am glad that I missed them there because we connected quite a bit in camp an in the preseason. I think that he is going to be a great weapon for us but I know Braylon, Brad Smith, David Clowney, and Jerricho, and even Dustin have had great camps and we also have some great options out of the backfield in Woodhead, Tomlinson, and Shonn Greene. There are plenty of weapons and I think that Santonio will just be a boost for us.”
Whether he has seen a big difference in Dustin Keler’s game this year as opposed to last year:
“Absolutely and a lot of that is coming from both of us improving together as young players, maturing and growing up in this league where he is my safety valve and he is always there for me. He has had a heck of a camp. I can’t tell you how many highlights he has had everyday in practice. The ones you kind of rewind 3,4,5 times just to watch it again because physically he is so imposing and can do so many things to try and catch the ball and his blocking has only gotten better. He is going to be a huge weapon for us and he has got a great head on his shoulders, he is excited. All he wants to do is help the team, really a great attitude. We are happy to have him and I am happy to be learning right alongside with him.”
Whether LaDainian Tomlinson has exceeded his expectations:
“You know I think when I met LT and heard him talk about the upcoming year and what he wanted to do. It sounded like he still had it and I mean after the first practice just seeing him out there running around he definitely has got some gas left in the tank and he showed that. I think he has got a little chip on his shoulder and he wants to prove that. He wants to prove people wrong and we love that attitude. That is the way that we were the entire year last year so he fits right in with us as a teammate and his play speaks for his self. He is a special talent, been around this league for along time and it shows when he is on the field. He is so sharp.”