Like an old ghost rattling chains around a new house, Brett Favre claimed yesterday that the Jets’ front-office and coaching staff forced him to play through his biceps injury last season. It was a needlessly headline-provoking statement, Favre’s specialty. So far, his replacement, Mark Sanchez, has tried to avoid that kind of spotlight-hogging.
Sanchez is saying all the right things, but doesn’t realize that he’s on another media planet here. Normally, you could say something like, “This is a must-win for us” and not have it be a big deal. After all, one would rather he not say, “You know, all told, none of us will burst into flames if we were to happen to lose to Houston on Sunday,” because that would indicate a serious lack of commitment to WINNING GAMES IN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. But he’s the Jets quarterback now, which means anytime he offers so much as a vague opinion about the potential result of a game he’s starting, everyone hears, “Joe Namath! Guarantee!” and starts putting a ton of pressure on him. “It has been a long time since a Jets rookie quarterback made a bold statement like that,” writes Rich Cimini in the Daily News, undercutting his point in the next sentence by pointing out the Jets haven’t had a starting rookie quarterback of any kind since 1977. (We suppose that means he’s right, technically.) Careful with your boldness there, rookie.
As we’ve mentioned before, the quicker the Jets turn Sanchez boring, the better off they are. They’ll face an immediate test on Sunday, against a Texan team many consider a sleeper to win the AFC South. It is unreasonable to think Sanchez will be a swaggering game-saver in the first week, but already, that’s the narrative of expectation.
Sanchez is three days away from transforming from shiny theoretical object into a dirtied, sporadically ugly actual starting quarterback in the NFL. Let’s not all be so surprised when that happens. After all, even the best new cars lose a lot of value as soon as you drive them off the lot.