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Thursday, November 11, 2010
Mark Sanchez's development? Not so fast

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan never wavers when raving about Mark Sanchez's progress as an NFL quarterback.

"Sometimes you expect guys to take a leap in their second year regardless of the position, and that's just based on experience," Ryan told Cleveland Browns reporters on a Wednesday conference call. "But this guy's gone above and beyond that."

Sanchez has helped the Jets to a 6-2 record, but Football Outsiders managing editor Bill Barnwell can't get past certain data that refutes Ryan's assertions.

In a column for ESPN Insider subscribers, Barnwell takes a division-by-division tour of myths and realities. Barnwell calls the notion Sanchez has gotten better a myth and says Sanchez's decreased interception rate is partly a "fluke."

Barnwell breaks down Sanchez's stat line to note his completion percentage and yards per attempt have dropped then writes:
The only noticeable difference in Sanchez between 2009 and 2010 is his interception rate. After throwing an interception once every 18.2 attempts in 2009, Sanchez went five games and 147 attempts without throwing one this year. While Sanchez is undoubtedly being more careful with the ball, avoiding interceptions altogether is a total fluke that has required a chorus of dropped picks. Since then, he's thrown five picks on 107 attempts, on pace for one interception for every 21.4 pass attempts. He won't be able to avoid them altogether, but if he wants to show growth he needs to get that to about one pick for every 30 attempts over the second half.