The New York Daily News, not necessary a pantheon of fine journalism (but that's for another day), recently spoke with Jets offensive guard Willie Colon, who had some thoughts to share on QB Mark Sanchez.
"I wish he had a little more bite,” Colon said. “I wish he had a little more dog in him. Because I feel like he’s battle-tested. I feel like he’s strong enough. I wish sometimes he’d say, ‘F--- the media’ or ‘F--- that.’ … Being in the New York media is tough. Every day, you get ridiculed. I mean, the kid was getting yelled at because he had a headband on. Always picking at him."
In context, Colon had made some positive remarks on Sanchez's work ethic and ability to take criticism, but it does speak volumes that he does not see that 'fight somebody' mentality of the NFL, in Sanchez.
Having a Bite
You look at the top QBs of the league—Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Manning—they all can be a pain in the ass to their teammates, at times, and to the media, but only because they demand excellence. They don't have the "Cali demeanor"—being too laid back to take control of a team.
Mark Sanchez didn't need to be a leader when he started with the Jets. He had guys like FB Tony Richardson to lean on, and lead the troops in-and-out of the huddle.
As Mark has progressed in terms of NFL experience, his play on the field has regressed, while his leadership has remained what it always has been. Without the 'stacked,' veteran teams of '09 and '10, that Eric Mangini had created, Sanchez was unable to demand better play out of his lesser-talented teammates. That is especially hard to do with game-killing turnovers.
The moral of the story?
Sanchez's play and tangiables are one thing, but his lack of leadership and intangiables are another. And without that fighter spirit, one will help the other get worse.
And with his current shoulder injury, which I believe to be worse than the Jets are putting on, Sanchez may have already played his last game as a starter for the NY Jets.