Wake-Up Call: Why It’s Working For Sanchez (So Far)
When Mark Sanchez’s night was through Friday, tight end Zach Ertz approached the quarterback and congratulated him on going 12-for-12.
“I said, ‘No, man, I went 11-for-12.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but that [interception] didn’t hit the ground,’ ” said Sanchez with a grin. “You have to have a sense of humor about it.”
No matter how you slice it, Sanchez has completed passes at a high rate in his limited time in an Eagles uniform. The six-year vet is 18-for-22 for 196 yards with two touchdowns and an interception over the first two preseason games. That’s a completion rate of 82 percent.
The Sanchez signing seemed a bit peculiar on the surface. Chip Kelly says that he values “repetitive accuracy” in a quarterback over everything else. Sanchez completed just 55 percent of his throws during his time with the Jets. It’s very early, but to this point the six-year vet has been on time and on point with his throws.
He credits a couple things for his success to date. One is the tempo. Sanchez really seems to benefit from the whiteboard being wiped clean the moment a play is over.
“I love that there’s no time to worry about anything with this offense. You just roll,” he said. “You get it back the next time, if you miss a throw, you screw something up, you just move on. There’s no time to wait, go back to the huddle, think about it, you have the coach yelling in your ear. It’s just not like that. You move on and play. I love that tempo.
“I think it really meshes well with my personality.”
The other thing is personnel. The second team has some first-team elements to it, with the likes of Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Jordan Matthews and Darren Sproles all working on Sanchez’s behalf. The line has given him time, his targets have gotten open and he has taken advantage.
“He’s just showing you who he is,” said Nick Foles. “I’m not surprised by it at all because I’ve always known he is a tremendous player, he is a tremendous guy. He’s been a tremendous addition to the quarterback room. It’s really fun to go watch him go out there and play and execute the offense and play at a high level. He’s just doing what he’s been doing his whole life. It’s nothing abnormal. He’s just going out there and being Mark Sanchez, and I love it.”
The last several weeks have been important ones for a QB trying to establish that 1) he is past his shoulder injury and that 2) he is a starting-caliber signal-caller in this league. Kelly says the Eagles haven’t received any trade offers yet. And really, it wouldn’t make any sense to deal Sanchez unless they were blown away because there is a decent chance you’ll need him at some point this season.
Eventually, though, Sanchez hopes to once again be the man out in front. How does he balance that desire with the responsibilities of his current role?
“I just have to take every opportunity as it comes. Whether it doesn’t happen for a while or I get a ton of reps, whatever that means, I can only control so much,” said Sanchez. “I just have to do the very best with what I have and support the heck out of Nick, and that’s what I try to do.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
LeSean McCoy among those missing from Sunday’s practice.
“We’ll listen to anything for anybody.” Sheil on possibility of a Sanchez trade, Marcus Smith‘s performance.
Game review of the Eagles’ offense against the Pats.
Some notes on Alex Henery, special teams snaps and Cary Williams.
Pass rush is the issue on third down, Sheil writes.
Jordan Matthews bounced back in a pretty big way.
Kelly was frustrated by his team’s lack of discipline Friday night,
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Tommy Lawlor is feeling good about Nate Allen through two preseason games.
This summer Allen got to experience something new…stability. He has all his coaches back. The scheme is the same. He’s healthy. Life is pretty darn good. The Eagles made things even better by signing FS Malcolm Jenkins. Finally, Allen has someone on the field that can help him. Jenkins is a good player with plenty of experience. He’s a natural leader and is pushing Allen to play better.
The Eagles have played 2 preseason games and Allen looks different. He is more confident. He is more aggressive. Allen will never be Dawk or Wes Hopkins, but he can be a quality starter. Allen was supposed to battle Earl Wolff for the SS job, but right now Allen has a virtual lock on the spot.
John Gonzalez on the competition that wasn’t between Alex Henery and Carey Spear.
First cuts are rapidly approaching. The Eagles will trim their roster to 75 players by Aug. 26. Barring something unforeseen happening, Spear will be tossed onto the discard pile. Kelly said the Eagles “brought him to camp to see what he can do.” They’ve evidently seen enough to indicate that Henery is well ahead of Spear.
“A lot of it is based on practice,” Kelly said. “Obviously Alex is ahead of him when you see him out there in competitive situations in practice. You can’t manufacture it and you can’t make it up. You have to go by what the numbers are. I know Alex has missed two kicks all camp. He’s 5 for 5 at [50-yard kicks or more]. He’s 8 for 8 from 45-49 [yards] in training sessions. He did miss one in the game. But it’s also something that we’re not going to throw another guy out there. Alex has definitely out-kicked Carey so far in practice.”
We’ll speak to Pat Shurmur and Billy Davis before the Eagles’ 11:35 a.m. practice.