Mark Sanchez Starting: Positves and Negatives
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is Mark Sanchez for at the very least another 3 weeks. I do not expect Nick Foles to be healthy for at least 6 weeks so it is extremely unlikely he takes over as starting quarterback for the playoffs unless Sanchez is terrible over the next few weeks.
So where does this leave the Eagles? Sanchez had a great first game against the Carolina Panthers but it was almost too easy for the Eagles. The Panthers have a terrible defense right now, Sundays game against the Green Bay Packers will be more of a test.
Assuming Sanchez is the starting quarterback for the rest of this season, will this have a positive or negative impact on the Eagles offense? I discuss both below:
1) Mobility at the position
Nick Foles is very slow, Sanchez adds mobility to the position. He is not a great athlete but he has quicker feet and can escape the pocket if he needs to. Head coach Chip Kelly can also call plays to take advantage of Sanchez’s movement skills. The first touchdown to receiver Jordan Matthews came off a boot run-action stretch play that Kelly could not call with Foles at quarterback.
2) Pocket movement
Sanchez was clearly more confident than Foles ever was in the pocket this season.
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He got great protection for the most part but he did make rushers miss while keeping his eyes downfield on a few occasions when the Panthers got pressure. Sanchez was not afraid to step up in the pocket which is something Foles has simply not done this season.
3) Lack of game film
What team knows what the Eagles will do with Sanchez at quarterback? Similarly to last season with Foles, teams do not know what the Eagles are going to do on offense. It gives the Eagles a great advantage, they can use plays like the boot-run action stretch play I mentioned earlier that they have not been able to use with Foles as quarterback. Teams haven’t seen these types of play all year from the Eagles until now.
4) Connection with Jordan Matthews
Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews is seriously talented, getting him the ball more is a great idea. Sanchez and Matthews had the chance to practice together throughout the summer as they took a number of second team reps. Sanchez is very comfortable throwing to Matthews and he will look to him a lot over the next few weeks as he did on Monday night.
1) Throwing outside the numbers
Sanchez does not have as much arm talent as Nick Foles does. Foles’ deep ball accuracy was off at the beginning of the season but he fixed that pretty quickly. Foles can make every throw and can hit both receivers Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin deep down the field. I am not sure Sanchez can yet, defenses will soon start to take away the short game and Sanchez will have to successfully throw downfield into tight windows. Monday night he looked a lot more comfortable throwing to Brent Celek and Jordan Matthews down the middle than he did throwing outside.
2) Less Jeremy Maclin
Sanchez is much more comfortable throwing to the middle of the field which means that we may not see Jeremy Maclin get as many targets as he was with Foles at quarterback. Maclin was the Eagles best offensive player that isn’t named Jason Peters for the first half of the season. Maclin normally gets open a lot and I hope Sanchez can get the ball to him regularly as good things happen when Maclin gets the ball.
3) Clutch situations
Can Mark Sanchez lead the team when they are losing as Nick Foles did against the Washington Redskins in week 3? If Sanchez has a game where he is continually taking big hits, will he stand tall in the pocket and make big throws come crunch time? I do not know yet, nobody knows. Foles is extremely well respected as a leader and is good when the game is on the line. Can Sanchez stay calm when the game is on the line or will he become erratic?
4) Matt Barkley
This negative is not Mark Sanchez’s fault at all. With Sanchez starting and Foles injured, we are only one snap away from having quarterback Matt Barkley play for the Eagles. I am not convinced we can beat any average or above team with Barkley as quarterback. Barkley as the Eagles backup is not a great situation for the Eagles to be in, get healthy soon Foles.
Conclusion – The Eagles should not miss a beat offensively without Nick Foles. I am a big fan of Foles and I still believe he has a chance to be a successful NFL quarterback but he has not played well this season. I am not ready to crown Mark Sanchez as a franchise quarterback yet but I thought he was very impressive Monday night. I would like to see some more arm strength on deeper throws outside the numbers and I would also like to see if he can continue to stay calm in the pocket when under pressure.
Sunday will be a great test for Sanchez and the Eagles offense as I believe they will need to score over 30 points to have a chance at beating the Packers.