Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi knows a thing or two about the blood feud between his former team and the New York Jets. And Bruschi has made some pointed comments about the Jets’ current quarterback.
“Right now, when I look at Mark Sanchez, I see a quarterback who is a
front-runner,” Bruschi writes at ESPN.com. “If things are going well, and the Jets are winning, his
positive attitude is infectious. He’s a leader, he smiles, he plays with
a freedom and confidence when things are going well. But when things
aren’t going well, I think he’s shown that he tanks it a little bit. So
if I’m a defensive player getting ready to play Mark Sanchez, I’m going
over to the offense and saying, ‘Hey fellas, just get us an early
touchdown. We’re going to stop the run. Let’s get a lead and he will
fold.’ That’s what I saw Monday night. His self-confidence went way down
when they were behind. Just like Rex Ryan’s confidence exudes to the
team, the starting quarterback’s does also. That’s not the sign of a
On Thursday, Jets coach Rex Ryan responded.
“I respect the heck out of Tedy Bruschi, no question,” Ryan said. “I think he would have a
different opinion if he was here every day. Tedy Bruschi is a guy [that] I
really do respect. That’s a tough dude and he’s smart. I think he would feel
much different if he was here because of the way [Sanchez] leads on the
practice field [and] the personality he has. What [Bruschi] says about [Sanchez] when we get ahead, that’s how he is every day on the practice field.
It never went our way on Monday night, but I would definitely not put Mark in a
front-running category. This guy is a competitor and I think Bruschi would have
loved to play with him.”
We wouldn’t expect Ryan to say anything other than what he said. But here’s the thing. During the Hard Knocks series on HBO, the Jets coaches were shown trying to get Sanchez to act like a leader, to show some fire, and to take charge. Regardless of whether he was acting like a leader or a guy who’s happy to be a celebrity earning an NFL paycheck on Monday night, Sanchez remains the team’s biggest question mark in a quarterback’s league. Until he shows that he can lead the team to victory under adverse conditions, Sanchez will receive more and more criticism, and the pressure to improve only will increase.