Sanchez working to clean up glitches

June, 13, 2010
6/13/10
7:16
AM ET
Sunday notes to chew on as you ponder what it might be like living in England today with the last name Green:

The Sanchez Rules. Now that his surgically repaired knee is healed and he’s back on the field, Mark Sanchez can concentrate on cleaning up some mechanical glitches. One area he’ll be focusing on is his takeaway from center. It seems like an easy skill – get the snap and drop back – but the coaching staff is trying to improve two aspects of his takeaway.

1. The first step – Sanchez needs to be “a little more explosive in his first step away from center,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “We want him to be more balanced his stance, drop his (butt) and explode away from center.” Why? Because they want Sanchez to be quicker into his drop back, achieving the proper depth a split-second sooner than usual. That will help his field vision. Remember, Sanchez is only 6-2, not a statuesque pocket passer, so he can’t see over the rush like others can.

2. The blind spot – When he pulls away from center, Sanchez, like many right-handed quarterbacks, tends to keep his hips and shoulders closed, facing to the right. “It’s hard to see what’s going on to your left,” Schottenheimer said. “That’s why, in our quick, three-step passing game, he wasn’t as accurate to the left as he should’ve been.”

That’s an understatement. According to stats from the Elias Sports Bureau, Sanchez threw 13 interceptions and only one touchdown on passes to the “left sideline” and “left side.” It’s not known how many of those picks came on three-step drops, but you get the idea.

During his down time, Sanchez studied cut-ups of every pass from last season. The coaching staff made the corrections, and now he’s on the field, trying to fix what he learned in the classroom.

Money matters. Take this to the bank (no pun intended): C Nick Mangold, LB David Harris and LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson will not get contract extensions in 2010. The Jets have yet to begin negotiations with any of the players and, considering the uncertainty of the CBA, the organization is showing no sense of urgency. The Jets probably won’t admit this publicly, but I think they’ve already made a decision to wait.

By waiting until after the season, GM Mike Tannenbaum is putting himself in an almost impossible position, with Mangold, Harris, WR Braylon Edwards, WR Santonio Holmes and CB Antonio Cromartie all unsigned. Say goodbye to two or three of those players.

Revis I$land. From all indications, the Darrelle Revis dispute will last well into the summer, perhaps all the way up to the regular-season opener. Both sides seem entrenched in their positions. Revis is adamant about being the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL (can you blame him?), meaning he wants to be paid at least as much as Nnamdi Asomugha (in the $16 million-a-year neighborhood). Ordinarily, the Jets wouldn’t have a problem with making Revis No. 1 in salary at his position, but they regard the Asomugha deal as an aberration, one of many wacko deals executed by Al Davis.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the possibility of a “band-aid contract,” giving Revis a nice raise in 2010 and re-visiting a long-term deal after the season when (or if) the CBA issues are settled. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, but the Jets might be reluctant to do that because they wouldn’t be receiving anything in return – i.e. more years on the contract. They’d be giving money for nothing, and that could open a can of worms.

Holmes, Sweet Holmes. One of the first things Sanchez noticed about new WR Santonio Holmes is his ability to track a deep ball in the air and accelerate under it. All the great receivers have that quality. Some receivers can run a sub-4.4 time in the 40, but they don’t play to that speed when the ball is in the air. Sanchez offered a terrific analogy when discussing his early impressions of Holmes.

“When you get a new receiver as a quarterback, it’s like a new toy,” he said. “Let’s say it’s a race car. What’s the first thing you do? You floor it. Pedal to the metal, let’s go. Let’s see what he’s got. I want to see what my race care has, I want to see what Santonio has.

“When we first started throwing, when we had a ‘9’ route, I launched it about as far as I could … He’s running, looking up at the ball, takes his eyes off the ball, gets into another gear, looks back up, late hands, tracks the ball … (Completion). He just knew. I mean, you don’t coach that. He’s unbelievable.”

Interestingly, Holmes wasn’t really used that way last season by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was more of a yards-after-catch receiver. His average YAC per reception was 6.3, fifth in the league among starting receivers. Of his 1,248 receiving yards, 40% came after the catch, only 60% in the air. His longest reception was only 57 yards.

Let’s see how that compares to current teammates Jerricho Cotchery and Edwards. Cotchery produced 38% YAC and 62% in the air, Edwards 31% YAC and 69% in the air.
Maybe the Jets can find a way to expand Holmes’ game by turning him into a home-run hitter.

This and that: Word on the street is that the contract for CB Kyle Wilson (No. 1 pick) will get done with time to spare before camp opens. The Jets open training camp Aug. 1 … Rex Ryan on who the new leader of the post-Faneca offensive line: “I just know it’s not the left guard” – a reference to rookie Vlad Ducasse and second-year backup Matt Slauson … By the way, Ducasse is well on his way to winning the starting job … Revis bristled when someone asked if, given the state of the economy, he should drop his asking price. One has nothing to do with the other, he said … Thursday was the one-year anniversary of the richest contract in Jets history, Sanchez’s five-year, $50 million deal ($28 million in guarantees). Woody Johnson wasn’t cheap then, was he?

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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