When most fans think of Mark Sanchez, the first thing that comes to mind is the 'butt fumble'. I get it, the play was embarrassing, but if you can get past this unfortunate snafu, there is a lot to like about Mark Sanchez in a Denver Bronco uniform.
Let’s not kid ourselves. On the way to a Super Bowl victory last season, the Broncos endured arguably the worst quarterback play in the NFL. Peyton Manning is an all-time great, but that doesn’t change that he was awful in his final season. Brock Osweiler was better than Manning statistically, but the offense still struggled with him at the helm.
The Broncos offense is bound to be better this upcoming season, regardless of who the QB is, as the team will have a full offseason together in Gary Kubiak's offense. The group was so bad last year, there is only room to grow, not much room to regress.
Thus far, John Elway has remade an offensive line that will feature four new starters, restructured the contract of a team captain to keep him in Denver and has acquired a QB with four playoff wins and two AFC Championship game appearances for practically nothing. Most importantly, Elway has refused to overpay to retain free agents that are replaceable.
Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan are stud players, but for the Broncos they weren’t even among the top-six players on that defense. The defense will be fine. The group of Todd Davis, Corey Nelson and Zaire Anderson will replace Trevathan, and a day-one starter will be found in the draft to replace Jackson, leaving the Broncos defense to hum along.
Brock Osweiler signed a deal worth $18 million annually, a desperation signing by an organization that has never had a franchise-caliber QB, something they still don’t have. Denver dodged a bullet. I was among Osweiler’s biggest backers. I believed in him — in Gary Kubiaks system. Osweiler is not Tom Brady, but he is now getting paid like him to play in his offense. He’s being set up to fail.
This brings me to “the first step in the process,” as Elway put it. There is a real possibility that Mark Sanchez becomes the Broncos opening day starter this season and the team can repeat as Super Bowl champions with him at the helm.
In his introductory press conference, Sanchez told us that he has no wife, no girlfriend and that his only focus is taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity. Maybe even more importantly, he told us he knows he needs to protect the football. Since then, Sanchez has spent most of his time at Dove Valley, immersing himself in the playbook and working out.
I get it — butt fumble — but Mark Sanchez is much more than that. In New York, he was engulfed in the bright lights of Broadway and stuck in the sideshow of Rex Ryan. In Philadelphia, he was a backup for Chip Kelly, a coach despised by his players who was ran out of town. He never had great coaching. He never had great weapons, yet he still won.
In Denver, Sanchez has a great coaching staff. He has Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to throw to and is backed by the best defense in the NFL. Sanchez was immature in New York — he’s no longer immature. He didn’t have the opportunity in Philadelphia he has in Denver.
I’m not saying Mark Sanchez is going to be the Broncos starting QB. I’m not even saying he’s going to be on the team come September, but if he is, and if he is the starter, Denver is going to have a player that is desperate, that is motivated, that sees his last chance to start in the NFL and a player that wants to be a Bronco.
Sanchez isn’t the QB many want, but he might just be the QB the Broncos need.
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