Sunday, November 22, 2009

Struggling Rookies

At the end of September, freshman quarterback Tate Forcier had led the Michigan Wolverines to a 4-0 record with a win over the rival Irish from Notre Dame and had provided Rich Rodriguez with more wins in four weeks than the Michigan head coach had secured in all of 2008.

Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez was the golden boy of the NFL--the heir apparent to Joe Namath and the next great, young quarterback following in the footsteps of Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, and Matt Ryan, all of whom were wildly successful at a young age in professional football. Sanchez had led New York's other team to a 3-0 start with wins over the hated New England Patriots and last year's winningest team in the regular season, the Tennessee Titans.

This weekend, Tate Forcier and Mark Sanchez combined for two fumbles, two touchdowns allowed, and eight interceptions in losses against their respective teams' most bitter rivals. Michigan is 5-7 and will not qualify for a Bowl game for the second consecutive year while the Jets fell to 4-6, three games out of the division lead and an afterthought in the Wild Card standings. While Michigan's one win since their hot start came against Delaware State, the Jets haven't been much more impressive--they are 1-6 since their 3-0 start with their win coming against the lowly Oakland Raiders.

In short, it's not a good time to be a Michigan fan from the Mets/Jets side of New York. Hell, even the Yankees have more wins in November than the Jets and Wolverines combined. And now the Lions do too. Ouch. For these fans, sanity is the goal and patience is a necessary virtue.
The young quarterbacks who showed promise on the field, moxy with the media, and charisma to the fan base have disappointed. Deal with it. These are first-year quarterbacks. Where would the Cowboys of the '90s or the Colts of today be if they had discarded the struggling Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning? Expectations were low to begin with, and everyone got spoiled after a few improbable wins. It's time to move on from 2009 and understand that this was, simply put, a training exercise.

Michigan will play in a bowl game before Tate Forcier can grow facial hair. Mark Sanchez will lead the Jets to the playoffs before Rex Ryan cries his way out of town. It's frustrating--for now--but these quarterbacks will benefit from this year of triumph and tribulations.


Matt Bernstein said...

As a fellow Michigan/Jets fan, this weekend was incredibly frustrating. If Tate plays better who knows how that game ends. If Sanchez doesn't throw 100 picks, Jets looked they could have taken one from the Pats. Its so hard to just accept that these guys are both rookies, but at the end of the day they are and it shows. Hopefully each of their seasons provided a valuable learning experience. Tate has completed his first NCAA football season and Sanchez is close to completing his first in the NFL. With another offseason I think we will see some major improvements from each.

rakeback said...

I think Sanchez needs some time to adapt, but he has all the physical and mental tools to excel at the pro game. Quarterbacks like Manning and Aikman had pretty rough starts and turned out pretty well.

luc schouten said...

The Jets are a tough team to figure out. In the beginning of the season they looked like world-beaters but you have no idea which Mark Sanchez is going to show up from week to week.

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