One of the subplots of this week’s game between the Seahawks and Jets is the reunion of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez with his college coach Pete Carroll.
When Sanchez left USC with a year of eligibility remaining, Carroll said that he thought the quarterback was making a mistake because he would benefit from another year of college. The Jets disagreed, trading up to take Sanchez with the fifth overall pick of the 2009 draft, and Jets coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday that he thought Carroll was more concerned about his team than Sanchez’s readiness.
“I did not blame Pete Carroll one bit because if I had that young man as my quarterback I’d say whatever it took to get the guy to stay with me,” Ryan said, via Tim Smith of the New York Daily News. “Deep down he knew he was ready. This guy has a ton of ability. You don’t want to lose a player of this caliber, especially one at that position. It’s hard to find these quarterbacks.”
While Carroll admits that Sanchez saying in school wasn’t the right thing just because Carroll felt that way, he’s not backing off his belief that Sanchez would have grown with another year leading the Trojans. Amid a flurry of compliments about Sanchez and what he was able to achieve as a rookie, Carroll stuck to his guns about what he said back in 2009.
“I told Mark exactly what I would have told my son. Exactly,” Carroll said, via Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times. “I just told him what I knew was the truth. He could have been better prepared if we’d have had him for another year. And I think it would have served him even better.”
It’s impossible to know how things would have played out if Sanchez had remained in college for another season. He could have wound up as the first overall pick or he could have suffered a serious injury or anything in between. The issue became a dead one when the Jets cast their lot. All that matters now is whether the coach can beat his former player or not.