Beware the Game-Managing Quarterback with the Best Defense In The League!
I can’t be any clearer than that. Does that mean Mark Sanchez will or will not pan out? Shit if I know. But, they say “Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk” for a reason.
That reason just doesn’t apply here.
I absolutely cannot fault the Seahawks for picking Aaron Curry over Mark Sanchez with our high draft pick last year. Knowing what I know now, with a fully functioning time machine and the power to make that pick over again, I would STILL take Curry over Sanchez.
That isn’t to say I would take Curry period. I’m sure there were a number of players chosen after Curry that would’ve been of greater help. But, that’s beside the point. This appeared to be a 2-man race at the time, so I’ll stick with the 2 thank you very much.
To put it another way: it wouldn’t have made much sense. If the Seahawks drafted Sanchez, we’d know as much about him today as we would have pre-draft. Because he never would have seen the light of day. Hasselbeck STILL would’ve been the Number 1; Wallace STILL would’ve been the Number 2 (whether you believe/agree with that or not); and the last I checked a 3rd Quarterback never played a down in 2009 for the Seahawks.
The Jets had NOBODY at quarterback. In fact, NOBODY is better than their actual number 2 guy, Kellen Clemens, who likely would’ve been their starter had they not picked Sanchez.
And, let’s get serious, the Jets had a much better offensive line and a much more established running game. Both teams had an influx of new coaching talent take over; but the Jets had the players. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington (before he got hurt) with a young guy in Shonn Greene who came alive in the backup role vacated by Washington.
The Seahawks had a SHIT line. And SHIT running backs (with the exception of Forsett, but he was buried for most of the year). So, even if Sanchez HAD seen the light of day in real game action, he would’ve been less effective than a JaMarcus Russell with no arms.
OK, though, I get the sentiment. It’s the same sentiment behind this year’s draft: We Need A Quarterback Of The Future. I’ll buy that. Had we drafted Sanchez, at the very least we’d have a potential successor who’d have that all-important Year On The Bench behind a veteran quarterback to soak in all things NFL. Since we failed in what has become a glaring weakness last year, that just sets us back all the more if/when we draft a guy this year.
True enough. It’d be nice to have the hope, to think – whether true or not – that we just might have the next Fill In The Blank superstar at quarterback for the next decade once Hasselbeck’s contract runs out or his body gives up completely.
That hope can do wonders for a fan base.
But, two things. First, you don’t pick a guy in the Top 5 and then don’t play him. Not anymore. Somewhere along the line, it became more important to throw a guy into the fire right away, take your lumps that first year, and then respond after that. And, if you’ve got a good O-Line and/or rest of the team around him, then you just might pull a Matt Ryan/Joe Flacco and hit the playoffs in their first years.
And, like I said, there’s no way the Seahawks were ready to do that last year. They believed this was a Playoff Team that just happened to be riddled with injuries for one flukey year.
Secondly, with the first being the case, the Seahawks didn’t have to draft a quarterback with that Top 5 pick. They had Hasselbeck all-the-way back from injuries, and a decent veteran quarterback can make it to his late 30s before riding out to pasture.
What’s fucked about this whole argument is, we wouldn’t be saying anything about Mark Sanchez’s rookie year if A. He played anywhere but New York or Dallas and B. the team around him didn’t carry his ass to the Championship Game. You can’t look at under 2500 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions and tell me that’s the making of a legend.
His team had the year’s best defense and one of the top offensive lines in all of American Football! They caught an overachieving Cincinnati team in the first round and they bit an overconfident San Diego team in the second round. Yes, he maximized the good plays and minimized the mistakes, but Mark Sanchez probably wasn’t in the top 15 players on his own team, even if you discount the regular season.
Now, let’s look at Aaron Curry. 61 tackles, 37 before the bye week. 2 sacks and 2 forced fumbles (before the bye week). Not particularly great numbers. I’ve read nothing about him except his “potential as a pass rusher”. A potential that came nowhere near approaching a reality in his rookie year. For a guy touted as the biggest “Sure Thing” in the draft last year, he probably wasn’t even in the top 10 rookie linebackers last year. I’m not going to look that up, but trust he at least wasn’t in the top 5 rookie ‘backers.
I’m not going to pretend that being a linebacker is tougher than being a quarterback; nor is there NEARLY the pressure on an outside linebacker. Nevertheless, there’s still a learning curve. You’ve got a team that wants you to be the next Lawrence Taylor – to utilize your speed in coverage as well as becoming a sack machine – but the rest of the defense isn’t exactly the ’86 Giants.
You could argue that Curry was better when Lofa was still playing; as Tatupu was likely an on-the-field coach and mentor for Curry, making sure he was in the right spot, as well as picking up the slack so he could make more plays. Whereas Hawthorne – while definitely MAKING those plays, and supplementing the team with dozens upon dozens of tackles – was not able to be that leader because he was pretty much learning the position of middle linebacker on the spot.
That having been said, I like a rookie who gets me 60+ tackles in 13+ games (he was injured towards the end of the year) more than I like a quarterback who cost his team more games than he had a significant hand in winning games. Sanchez had 8 regular season games with an interception; five of those games being multi-INT games. Sanchez had 8 regular season games with under 25 attempts, going 6-2 in those contests. Meaning, the Jets were 2-5 in games where Sanchez actually had to shoulder some of the load (he missed 1 game with injury, a victory for the Jets).
All that being said, yes, Sanchez was a rookie. And, for a rookie, to go 8-7 and take your team to the AFC Championship game – even WITH the top defense and O-line – it’s pretty impressive.
It just doesn’t do the Seahawks any good. Because with the Seahawks, we wouldn’t have gotten THAT guy. We either would’ve had a guy who never touched the ball (while fans continuously called out for the coach to play him once the season went the way it did), a guy who would’ve finally started playing after week 12, when the season was over and nothing was on the line (and getting killed because of the nO-line), or in the twist of all twists, a guy who was given the job out of preseason (alienating every single veteran player on this team), who would’ve eventually gotten injured, and who would’ve ultimately gotten Jim Mora fired anyway because the team would’ve mailed in the season long before our 3-7 start.
I say don’t give up on Curry just yet. Comparisons between the two are as useful as the Mario Williams/Reggie Bush debate. What difference does it make? All players involved are bound to end up as average role players anyway