Thursday, December 13, 2012
Mark Sanchez struggling vs. blitz
By James Walker
Mark Sanchez needs to work on several areas of his game in order to remain the starting quarterback of the New York Jets after this season. But perhaps the biggest hole in Sanchez's game is his inability to handle the blitz.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Sanchez has the worst QBR (15.0) in the NFL against five or more pass-rushers. Opponents are taking notice, because Sanchez also is the league's most-blitzed quarterback at 37.7 percent.
Expect New York's opponent, the Tennessee Titans, to continue that trend when they play on "Monday Night Football." Tennessee's defense is at its best when blitzing. The Titans (4-9) have a 33.5 opponent QBR when bringing five or more rushers.
Sanchez gets most of the blame for his struggles against the blitz. But his supporting cast and coaching staff also deserve some. New York (6-7) doesn't have any dynamic skill players to strike fear in an opposing defense -- making it easy to for defensive coordinators to dial up blitzes. The Jets' ground-and-pound offense also can be predictable. New York ran the football 42 times, compared to just 19 passes from Sanchez, in last week's 17-10 victory over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11).
The Titans are another team struggling against the run, so expect New York to stick to its formula. Tennessee allows 127 rushing yards per game, which is ranked 23rd in the league.
Tennessee's best chance to beat the Jets is to stack the box and see if the Jets can win through the air. How Sanchez responds against the blitz will go a long way toward determining the outcome of Monday's game.