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Another Little Word About Mark Sanchez and the Philadelphia Eagles: An Editorial
We are in the midst of the NFL playoffs and nobody is thinking about the Philadelphia Eagles anymore. But I want to acknowledge the successful season they had under the circumstances. With nominal "back up" quarterback Mark Sanchez under center, the team finished with a 10-6 record. Yet again, I feel compelled to remind everybody that the team almost finished 11-5, and would have done so---and maybe got into the playoffs---if a Philadelphia Eagle had come down with the hail Mary pass Sanchez launched into the end zone, against the Washington Redskins.
As it turned out, the Eagles lost an unexpectedly tight game 27-24. I mention this in the context of recent news that head coach Chip Kelly has worked out a deal, which gives him complete control over the selection of players. In addition to this, it is said that he will have a major say in who becomes the next general manager.
Here's the thing. I may be the only person in America who believes this, but I think Mark Sanchez ought to have another chance to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. Its seems to me that we have seen enough of a body of work with the Eagles (even in his losing efforts) to see what that young man is capable of under the tutelage of an offense-minded coach (or at least a head coach who pays attention to the offensive side of the ball) and skill position players around them who are, um, well, actually skilled.
Consider the New York Jets, where Mark Sanchez came from, and where he lost five years of professional development that he will never get back. Tell me, if you can, the name of a single player on offense that "scares" you, or would do so if you were another team facing them.
That's what I thought. And so, as I say, this is the same problem Geno Smith is having right now. Let's see if the coaching change will improve that young man's fortunes.
I hope the Philadelphia Eagles do not underestimate what they have in Mark Sanchez. I may be the only football watcher in America who thinks this, but I hope Sanchez is given the chance to be the regular starting quarterback for the Eagles. I do not mean to disparage Nick Foles, but I think that Sanchez's skill set fits the Chip Kelly system better. As I say, the team almost finished 11-5, except for the hail Mary pass that was not caught in the end zone by a Philadelphia Eagle receiver.
There are commentators and analysts and people on social media who, mysteriously, refer to a late season "collapse" the Eagles are supposed to have experienced. That perception of a "collapse" rests largely on two losses: against the Seattle Seahawks and against the Green Bay Packers. They lost a game to the Dallas Cowboys, but they had previously beaten "America's Team" by a commanding margin of 33-10.
Let me say this about the losses to the Seahawks and the Packers.
1. There are no formulas for invincibility in the National Football League, or for any other team in any other sport, professional, semipro, or amateur.
2. As I have said before, the Philadelphia Eagles were virtually destined to lose to the Seattle Seahawks, which features The Most Special Defense We've Seen in the National Football League in Forty Years Since the Pittsburgh Steelers, With Their Steel Curtain Defense, won all of those Super Bowls in the 1970s, when virtually all QB Terry Bradshaw had to do was physically show up to collect his four rings.
3. And, again, this is also something that if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: The Eagles were virtually destined to lose that football game to the Green Bay Packers, with Super Bowl champion, future first-ballot Hall of Famer, and the man many think of as the best quarterback in the League today, and will most certainly go down as one of the top five all-time greats, Aaron Rodgers.
4. Even in losing those games, Mark Sanchez looked better than he had in a long time, even in those few and far in between times he managed to win games with the Jets, in recent years.
I'm not saying that Foles should suddenly become Sanchez's back up all of the sudden. I think Foles, too, deserves to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League.
I think of Nick Foles as a Joe Flacco-type. Both are big, strong guys with big, cannons-for-arms. Both are sort of cool and collected of on-field temperament. Both are rugged, more or less traditional pocket passes. Neither is known for the ability or inclination to run or even scramble, but can if necessary; but that is not a regular part of the way they play the position.
You know where Foles would fit in well? The Houston Texans. How about that? You have J.J. Watt there on the defensive line. First round pickup Jadevion Clowney is supposed to be a pretty good defender. A lot of people think that pair can really amount to something special on the defensive line. Joe Flacco is a Raven; and I think the addition of Nick Foles to the Texans just might make that club a playoff caliber team. Of course, I think Foles could win out in a competition for the starting position, if necessary.
Anyway, I just hope that the Eagles don't do anything rash. I hope they don't underestimate what they have in Mark Sanchez. I hope they don't try to fix what is not broken and outsmart themselves. By the way, don't get me started on the theme of how teams in the National Football League have clearly outsmarted themselves, or threaten to outsmart themselves! Don't even get me started on that!
Thank you for reading.