Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Topics for Woody Johnson, Mark Sanchez
By James Walker
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson reportedly will meet with starting quarterback Mark Sanchez this week. There is a lot to talk about after the team imploded down the stretch and was one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments.
Here are three topics I think Sanchez and Johnson must address in their face-to-face meeting:
1. Does Sanchez have the Jets’ full support?
Publicly, the Jets are saying all the right things. Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum have both gone on record to say Sanchez is the starting quarterback in 2012. But behind the scenes there is speculation about Sanchez’s long-term future in New York. He’s had three years with the team and showed marginal improvement. Some believe Sanchez may have even regressed last season, although most statistics show otherwise. But Sanchez, more than anything, wants to come from this meeting with Johnson knowing he has the full support of the Jets organization. It would seem highly disingenuous if Johnson and Tannenbaum are publicly deeming Sanchez the starter next season. Then, the team goes after Peyton Manning in March. Johnson needs to be completely forthright with Sanchez and where he stands as the starting quarterback.
2. How do the Jets plan to make the offense better?
Both Sanchez and Johnson need to have an honest and blunt conversation about the offense. There shouldn’t be any sugarcoating from either side. Sanchez should clearly explain where he thinks the weaknesses are and what he needs around him. Meanwhile, Johnson should be honest about what improvements he wants to see from his quarterback. This could provide a very productive back-and-forth to help map out the future direction of the offense. New York will run a new system next season under first-year offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. Johnson should take in Sanchez’s suggestions heading into the draft and free agency, and Sanchez should listen closely to the areas Johnson thinks the quarterback needs to work on.
3. Can chemistry problems with receiver Santonio Holmes be fixed?
This is something Johnson needs to know. Two of his highest-paid players on offense feuded last season, and Johnson needs to get to the source of whether this pairing can work in 2012. There isn’t much the Jets, Sanchez or Holmes can do to change it due to their large contracts. The quarterback and receiver must make it work for at least another year. The emotions of a bitter ending seem to have worn off, and Sanchez and Holmes appear to be on the right track. Rest assured Johnson will want an update on where this pairing stands heading into the offseason.