Sanchez Can Energize Jets With Win Against Dolphins

It is an exercise in self-reflection. He reminds himself what he did wrong and not to let it happen again — even if, sometimes, it does.

No quarterback is perfect, especially not the quarterback of a team that has guaranteed it would win the but instead has fizzled and flopped, undermined by a sputtering offense and an inconsistent defense. Sanchez’s imperfections are all the more conspicuous with the Jets (2-3), given the high expectations as he entered his third season, considered a pivotal one in a quarterback’s development.

“It’s still awfully early for me to have a full sense of where he’s at,” the offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “Over all, we’ve been pleased with a lot of the things he’s done. But are there things that he can do better? Absolutely.”

In some areas, like red-zone efficiency and recognition of opposing defenses, Sanchez has improved, impressing coaches and teammates. In others, like accuracy and ball security, he has struggled, making mistakes similar to the ones he made his first two seasons.

The ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, after analyzing five games’ videotape of Sanchez, came away bothered that he was still committing “remedial errors,” like overthrowing open receivers or failing to set his feet properly.

“My expectation, because I’ve been his No. 1 apologist, is that Mark was going to make a huge jump this year, and I haven’t seen it to this point,” said Dilfer, a quarterback for 13 years in the N.F.L. “It doesn’t mean he can’t. I just haven’t seen it. The errant throws and the mistakes he’s making at this juncture of his career — he shouldn’t be making them. I’d say we’re a little early to say that Mark has regressed, but I think we’re in the danger territory. If this continues for the next few weeks, I’m in full worry mode.”

Dilfer said he wanted to withhold judgment on Sanchez until after Monday night’s game with Miami, which has emerged as the fulcrum to the Jets’ season: a divisional matchup at home, on national television, against a winless team that features the second-worst pass defense in the N.F.L. The elements for success are there for Sanchez, who is aware that a victory would ease the tension and tumult that threaten to splinter the locker room.

After roasting the offensive line Thursday for not giving Sanchez enough time to throw downfield — remarks that , the veteran guard Brandon Moore — Santonio Holmes, in a quiet moment at his locker, was asked to assess Sanchez’s performance this season. At first, he declined to comment. Then, as he was about to walk away, he said, “If I did, it wouldn’t be good.”

Holmes’s evaluation falls in line with the reaction that Sanchez almost always seems to inspire: extreme. For every stinging rebuke, a kind word is said, as if to explain or justify how a below-league-average passer with obvious flaws has guided the Jets to the A.F.C. championship game the past two seasons.

That juxtaposition underscores his standing as perhaps the most polarizing quarterback in the N.F.L. not named Michael Vick, and also the reality that Sanchez, 36 regular-season games into his career, is playing neither well nor poorly, but rather in that murky area in between. Certainly it has been difficult for Sanchez to establish a rhythm, searching for chemistry with a remodeled receiving corps and playing behind an offensive line that has struggled to protect him; he is on pace to be sacked 41 times, 14 more than last season.

The Jets’ inability to establish a consistent running game has heaped more responsibility on Sanchez to make plays and has, at times, also minimized one of his strengths — throwing on the move. After charting every throw last season, the Jets were surprised to learn that he was actually more accurate moving to his left, the harder throw for a right-handed quarterback.

They try to use his mobility by calling naked bootlegs and rollouts, plays that Sanchez can sell when defenses must honor the run. But aside from , when Sanchez threw for 339 yards, the Jets have shied from regularly moving him out of the pocket.

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