By Jason Klein
Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 4/28/09
His cell phone was pressed firmly to his right ear, his left hand was triumphantly raised above his head. The voice in his ear, that of General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, asked the kid from SoCal if he wanted to be a New York Jet. With the world watching, he accepted…punctuating the news with a fist pump and a smile. Just like that, the Jets had a new face for their often embattled franchise. Mark Sanchez, welcome to Broadway.
Immediately, the Jets have their biggest name at their most important position since Joe Willie sported white cleats and a mink. So far, the Kid looks the part. Coming from one of the biggest football programs in the nation (USC), he is already battle-tested. There are certainly some question marks regarding his overall experience – he only started 16 games for the Trojans – but experts are quick to point out just how grueling Pete Carroll’s pro-style practices are.
He looked relaxed and genuinely excited at his introductory Jets press conference, at one point claiming that, “this is so cool.” His heritage will open up new marketing avenues for the Jets, giving them the ability to target a broader audience within the large New York Hispanic Community. His diverse background, personality and looks, all in the largest market in the nation, will lead to numerous endorsement deals. That is, if the kid can play.
He will get every opportunity to start in 2009, and all things being even in training camp, he will be under center against Houston on opening day. However, if he’s outplayed by incumbent Kellen Clemens, look for Sanchez to start the season as the understudy.
Coming off the Brett Favre experiment in 2008, this team is built to win now. Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and Alan Fanaca anchor a solid offensive line, capable of protecting a young and inexperienced QB like Sanchez. Plus, Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and Jerricho Cotchery provide this squad with enough firepower to succeed. Ultimately, new coach, Rex Ryan’s defense will keep the team in all games, Sanchez or Clemens would simply have to protect the ball and not make mistakes.
Whether it was a ploy to help sell more PSL’s or not, by trading up to the 5th pick on Saturday and nabbing Sanchez, the Jets inserted a player, with all the tools, who could potentially lead their franchise for the next decade. However, fickle and hungry Jets fans know, for every Joe Namath, there is a Browning Nagle. The heat will be turned up on the kid from SoCal. Mark Sanchez, welcome to Broadway.
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