Mehta: Mark Sanchez keeps Eagle eye focused on his now Greener pastures

By on November 6, 2014

Mark Sanchez rolls out to throw a pass in the fourth quarter against the Texans at Reliant Stadium on November 2, 2014. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Mark Sanchez rolls out to throw a pass in the fourth quarter against the Texans at Reliant Stadium on November 2, 2014.

Idzik had one final opportunity to do the right thing — the decent thing — by releasing Sanchez at the outset of free agency in March to give him ample time to find a new home. The GM assured the quarterback that he wouldn’t drag it out.

He lied.

The Jets held on to Sanchez for 11 days before cutting him loose. Potential landing spots with the Buccaneers, Vikings, Titans and Texans disappeared. The Eagles were one of the few options left. The NFL is a cut-throat business, but Idzik handled the situation in a classless and cold manner.

Now, the GM who turned the Jets into a league laughingstock with a rambling mess of a press conference that revealed a special kind of cluelessness is feeling the heat from a fed-up fan base fully aware that he’s unfit to lead the franchise out of the abyss.

Sanchez, frankly, couldn’t care less. He’s preparing for meaningful games for a franchise heading in the right direction. Nick Foles’ broken clavicle last week set the stage for a career revival for the former Jets golden boy, who will start his first game since Dec. 30, 2012, when the Eagles (6-2) host the Panthers on Monday night.

Left for dead by so many, Sanchez is on the precipice of something special.

“It’s been a while since I started a game,” said Sanchez, who threw a pair of TD passes in relief to beat the Texans last week. “That’s hard. Going four straight years of playing and then being out for a year. . . . It tests you a little bit and makes you appreciate it even more and makes you want to play all that much better when you get in there.”

Sanchez believes he’s a “better version” of himself. The peaks and valleys playing for three different offensive coordinators in the past three years have given him perspective. He’s less impulsive, less foolish.

“I think we’ll be in good hands,” wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. “Mark can play, man. There’s no question about it. Here, he’s also surrounded by a lot more talent than maybe he had in New York.”

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There is no shortage of weapons at all the skill positions. Chip Kelly’s spread system is quarterback-friendly primarily because “the progressions are pretty cut and dried,” according to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

“We don’t bog them down with a lot of silly things,” Shurmur said. “So the ball can come out quickly.”

The fast-paced tempo is tailor-made for Sanchez, whose best days with the Jets came in no-huddle situations. “Get the next play and go,” he said.

Sanchez has seen enough in his professional life not to go overboard. Circumstance has provided an opportunity. Circumstance can steal it away in an instant.

So, he insisted that nothing has really changed. The work ethic that buoyed him through a grueling shoulder rehab has never waned. His preseason success (80.6 completion rate) opened eyes. His professionalism every day earned him trust.

“He’s a franchise quarterback,” wide receiver Jordan Matthews said.

Maybe he is. Maybe he’s not. That doesn’t really matter anymore.

Mark Sanchez is in a much better place than the one he left behind.

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