Mark Sanchez Links to Zach Wilson’s Jets Trip: ‘Fine Line’

Mark Sanchez saw something familiar when he watched Sunday’s game between the Jets and Packers.

It reminded the former Jets quarterback of his rookie year when the Jets often won with strong defense and a tough running game and only required him not to throw interceptions. This year’s team is starting to look like the 2009 team. Zach Wilson completed just 10 of 18 passes for 110 yards in Sunday’s win at Green Bay.

No one can relate to what Wilson is experiencing more than Sanchez.

“I think it’s harder when you’re in it, living it,” Sánchez told The Post, “because every quarterback wants to throw the game-winning touchdown or throw five touchdowns and go for 300 yards and go do a passing clinic. . That’s what you want to do. Turning around, passing the ball 30 times a game is not that attractive. However, you also want to win, and that desire to win is more important than your personal stats.”

These the jets are winning just like Sanchez’s team did in 2009. The Jets are 3-0 since Wilson returned from his knee injury and are 4-2 overall. Sánchez’s rookie team went 9-7 and reached the AFC championship game.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 16: Zach Wilson #2 of the New York Jets asks for orders in the second quarter
Zach Wilson has guided the Jets to a 3-0 record since returning to the lineup.
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Sanchez got off to a strong start after the Jets drafted him No. 5 overall from USC, but then he threw five interceptions against the Bills and the Jets cut back on what they were asking for. Instead, Rex Ryan leaned on his defense, a great offensive line and running back Thomas Jones.

Sanchez praised Jets coach Robert Saleh and his staff for recognizing that this is the best way to win, but also said they need to make sure further develop wilsonwhich is in its second season.

“If that’s the formula for your team and it was for us in 2009 when sometimes the team had to win despite me, then that’s the formula,” Sanchez said. “You almost have to protect young people from themselves sometimes. At the same time, you want them to grow. There’s a fine line that you have to walk and kind of a tightrope, OK, this is our formula for winning, but we also want to develop our quarterback and really make sure he’s a situational master, so when it’s time to cut it drop and throw the ball is not so strange for him because all we do is run the ball.

At one point during Sanchez’s rookie season, the Jets put a color-coded wristband on him to remind him when to be aggressive and when to back down. These Jets haven’t done that to Wilson, and Sanchez wouldn’t recommend that for any young quarterback.

However, Sanchez recently saw two plays by Wilson that worried him. The interception just before halftime at Pittsburgh when the Jets could have had a field goal and the close interception he threw in the end zone at Green Bay in the second quarter on Sunday were concerning. Sanchez said he relates to trying to do too much.

“It’s like, ‘Oh, what a stupid move,’ but I totally understand what you’re thinking,” Sanchez said. “He’s trying to break out of this prison and make a play for his team because he loves him so much.”

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (C) appears to throw
Mark Sanchez

Sanchez said the key for the Jets to thrive with Wilson having a reduced role it’s making sure he doesn’t lose the part of him that made him the second overall pick.

“You have to keep reminding him [to be careful with the football] without getting it to turn off,” Sánchez said. “You don’t want to completely take the sting out of the child. Because at some point you’re going to be in a 37-35 barn and you don’t want him to be so cold and scared to fire his gun. That’s a very, very fine line of how far back you go. As long as I continue to teach, I think continued dialogue is paramount.”

Sánchez’s rookie season ended in the playoffs with him playing what he called “efficient” football. Sánchez won four road playoff games in his first two years, a feat that remains remarkable.

Sanchez, who now calls games for Fox, is excited to see his former team win games. As a rookie, he bought four personal seat licenses for Jets games at MetLife Stadium, thinking his family could watch him play there for years. So Sanchez also has some financial investment in this team.

“It’s been a lot of fun to watch,” Sanchez said. “Bottom line, those four PSLs that I have, I can’t sell until they win games. this helps me. In recent years it has been difficult to even give them away”.

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