Will Jets Unleash Sanchez?

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez threw for a career-high 369 yards last week in Oakland.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, September 29th, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink, Week 4 vs Jets

Ground-and-pound coach Rex Ryan kept Mark Sanchez on a pretty tight leash last time they battled the Ravens.

In their Week 1 meeting last year, Sanchez attempted just 21 passes and completed 10 for 74 yards.

A lot has seemingly changed in a year for the Jets’ offense, however.

In Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys, Sanchez tied a career high in passing attempts with 44. Last week, Sanchez passed for a career-high 369 yards against the Oakland Raiders.

The Jets could open it up more this time around against Baltimore.

“That’s probably the biggest identity that you do see,” linebacker Ray Lewis said after his initial scouting.

“Mark Sanchez is throwing the ball way more than those running backs are touching it. It’s definitely a changeup from what you saw the last couple years, which was run, run, run, run, run.”

The Jets led the NFL by far in rushing attempts in 2009 with 607, 82 more than the runner-up Carolina Panthers. New York was second in the league in attempts last season with 534.

This season, however, the Jets are 20th in the league in rushing attempts (72) and 25th in rushing yards per game (82.0).

Leading tailback Shonn Greene is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and has just 134 yards through three games (45 ypg). LaDainian Tomlinson has been more of a receiving threat out of the backfield, as he has 62 rushing yards on 17 carries and 196 receiving on 12 receptions.

They’ll be facing a Ravens team currently boasting the league’s sixth-best run defense (84 yards per game).

“Are you going to run it against Haloti Ngata, over and over, and against Ray Lewis?” Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan said. “We’ll probably have to throw it more than we want.”

A lot of passing hasn’t necessarily been a good thing for the Jets.

In games that Sanchez has attempted 30 or more passes (including the playoffs), the two-time AFC runner-ups have posted a 10-10 record.

Despite his career-high passing day in Oakland, the Jets lost 32-24. They had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Dallas, 27-24.

“I think, really with most teams, you have to be able to run the football,” Ryan said.

“It helps your defense… When you do get ahead, if you get a lead and things like that, you need to be able to run the football. I think it opens up opportunities in the passing game, like the vertical passing game.”

Baltimore safety Ed Reed was on the sidelines for the season-opening meeting in New York last year. He has his eye on Sanchez coming into this Sunday’s game at M&T Bank Stadium.

“Sanchez is still [Rex's] guy who is growing, but can throw every ball,” Reed said.

“He’s commanding the troops. He’s the leader of their team now. They obviously have more confidence in him.”

Tags: , , , , , ,