Could both of the top quarterbacks taken in the 2009 NFL Draft be done for the year already? That’s looking like a more likely scenario as this week goes on. And it might be best for both Mark Sanchez and Matt Stafford if their teams decide to let them sit rest and heal for the rest of the season.
Mark Sanchez will not start on Sunday, as the Jets will go with backup Kellen Clemens against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets’ brass thinks Sanchez needs another week to rest his injured knee. If the Jets happen to drop this weekend’s tilt with the 1-11 Bucs, the best they could possibly finish is 9-7, making the playoffs unlikely. At that point, shutting down New York’s $44.5 million investment would be a good idea.
The Detroit Lions have decided that Stafford still needs time to let his ailing left shoulder heal. The Lions have announced Daunte Culpepper as their starting quarterback for Week 14. Sitting with a 2-10 record and a hurt franchise quarterback with a $72 million contract, they Lions really have nothing to gain by playing Stafford at all for the remainder of the season.
So far this season the early returns for Stafford and Sanchez have been mixed. That’s not at all surprising, since rookie quarterbacks are typically awful when they start for terrible teams. Both have shown tons of ability but also looked downright horrible at times.
So far the numbers stack up like this:
Stafford: 201-of-377 (53.3 percent), for 2,267 yards, 13 touchdowns, 20 interceptions and a 61.0 quarterback rating.
Sanchez: 158-of-297 (53.2 percent), for 2,049 yards, 11 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a 63.7 quarterback rating.
Both guys could probably benefit from sitting on the side, watching some NFL games and healing up.
I would bet the Jets will play Sanchez regardless of the team’s playoff chances. Rex Ryan is a guy who wants everyone to give their all at all times and Sanchez could probably earn some toughness points with his teammates (and his coach) by playing through some pain this year.
With Stafford, the Lions are in a different boat. Detroit’s kid has already shown some serious toughness and the team has zero chance of being any good. He would be completely justified in sitting out the rest of the year and it would probably be the smart move for the entire franchise.