Marky Mark and Sexy Rexy together again. Well hopefully it happens in my eyes. Now, I know what most of you fans out there are saying. “He’s not good enough” or “Let’s give EJ a real shot.” The Bills gave him a “real” shot. He was under-throwing Sammy Watkins like it was his job and some of the decision-making he had was not very good. This team is ready to win right now, and they need a quarterback who has won before. Mark Sanchez has, and it is the same formula in Buffalo that allowed him to take the Jets to two AFC Championship games.
Jan 14, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan speaks during a press conference at ADPRO Sports Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
During his introductory press conference, Rex Ryan said he wanted to turn this team into a “bully” by running the ball down people’s throats and beating them up on the defensive end. The defense already beat teams up, now the offense needs to be able to do the same.
When the 28-year old quarterback took his J-E-T-S to those AFC title games, he threw the ball 364 times in 2009 and 507 in 2010. That’s averaging 24.3 att/gm and 31.7 att/gm. This was also behind a very good offensive line and he had two great running backs with Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene. The Bills have comparable backs in Fred Jackson and Anthony Dixon, two powerful backs that fit right into Ryan’s scheme.
Buffalo also has better wide receivers than those Jets did in 2009, yet Sanchez still found a way to make it work. He did it again in 2010, with Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. Along with an underrated tight end in Dustin Keller, he threw for close to 3300 yards while his running back duo of LaDainian Tomlinson and Greene combined for 1869 yards on the ground.
Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods are better than those two were for Sanchez, though the Bills might have to upgrade the tight end position. In the backfield, end the running back carousel that was the 2014 Bills and you would have similar numbers with Jackson, Dixon, and Bryce Brown chipping in once in awhile.
Problems arose with Sanchez when he was asked to throw the ball a lot more in his third season, averaging close to 34 attempts per game, a number that Ryan will not let it get to in Buffalo.
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This past season in Philadelphia saw the best year for Sanchez in his career, completing 64% of his passes in Chip Kelly’s system and averaging 7.8 yards per completion. The only problem in Kelly’s system was the number of passes, but the USC graduate handled that quite well as shown. He ended up averaging 34.3 passes per game, the largest number of his career, whileNick Foles
Sanchez proved last season that he will be able to complete passes and make better decisions than he did in his final two years in New York, and it’s time to meet back up with his old coach. Under a new and better-suited offense for his style, he will be able to bring the Bills back to the playoffs like he did in his first two years with Ryan in New York.
Be sure to check the second piece of this series tomorrow as we look to the tight end position, as a fellow Lake Erie neighbor could be a free agent and would be a dynamite pickup for Buffalo.