Rand: Doubt comes out at this time of year in NFL

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 27, 2011 - 7:53 AM
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Is Mark Sanchez the quarterback to lead the New York Jets higher? Some observers are casting doubt.

Photo: Bill Kostroun, Associated Press - Ap

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If you've quickly transitioned from figuring out 2-14 draft position tiebreakers to possible 4-12 draft position tiebreakers, we recommend taking a break. There will be no talk of the 2012 NFL draft here as we barrel toward the final week of the 2011 season:

• Stop us if you've heard this before: A highly touted quarterback selected in the first round of the draft shows initial promise but follows it with some alarming turnover tendencies and suddenly makes fans -- and perhaps his own bosses -- wonder if he is really the long-term answer.

It sounds like it could be the developing Christian Ponder story. For now, though, we're talking about Mark Sanchez and the Jets. In his first two years in the league, Sanchez helped lead the Jets to within a game of the Super Bowl, but there are rumblings coming out of New York suggesting his recent play has cast a doubt over his future.

Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com cited a league source in noting "the Jets are beginning to realize that Sanchez may not be the answer at the position." Statistically, Sanchez is having his best season as a pro. He already has a career high in TD passes (24) and will almost certainly set a career high in yards. But the Jets have dropped back-to-back games and at 8-7 are very likely to miss the playoffs.

Still, it would a costly admission for the Jets -- who traded two draft picks and three players to move up in order and select Sanchez No. 5 overall in 2009.

• Raheem Morris might be the latest victim of his own success contrasted with more recent failure. His 2010 Tampa Bay squad went 10-6 and seemed primed for bigger things in 2011. But this year's squad -- after a 4-2 start that included victories over the Saints and Falcons -- is mired in a nine-game losing streak and his job could very well be in jeopardy. The four most recent Buccaneers losses have been by at least 16 points.

• Kansas City has nothing left to play for, but Kyle Orton does. The Chiefs QB will face his former team -- the Broncos -- with a chance to knock Denver and Tim Tebow out of the playoffs. "We knew it was a possibility," team executive John Elway told the Denver Post. "So, here it is. We have to go out there and play well. It was best for the team, bottom line. We made that decision knowing this was a possibility. Now we have to do it." Even with a loss, the Broncos will still win the division at 8-8 if Oakland also loses.

• The Associated Press interviewed 44 NFL players in the past two weeks, and 23 said they would try to hide a possible concussion in order to remain in a game. "The bottom line is: You have to be able to put food on the table," said Jacksonville star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. "No one's going to sign or want a guy who can't stay healthy."

MICHAEL RAND

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Cleveland - LP: T. House 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: A. Simon 4
Chicago Cubs 0 Delayed
Cincinnati 0
Kansas City 0 Postponed
Chicago WSox 0
Houston 1 Top 2nd Inning
Oakland 0
NY Mets 1 Top 2nd Inning
NY Yankees 0
Washington 0 Top 2nd Inning
Miami 0
Toronto - D. Norris 5:10 PM
Tampa Bay - E. Ramirez
Atlanta - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Boston - J. Masterson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - W. Chen
St. Louis - A. Wainwright 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
Pittsburgh - A. Burnett 7:10 PM
Arizona - R. De La Rosa
San Francisco - T. Hudson 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. De La Rosa
Los Angeles - B. McCarthy 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Minnesota - T. May 8:10 PM
Seattle - J. Paxton
Atlanta 40 3rd Qtr
Brooklyn 47
Chicago 4:30 PM
Milwaukee
Golden State 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Memphis 9:30 PM
Portland
Washington 1 2nd Prd 14:24
NY Islanders 1
Detroit 5:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Nashville 7:00 PM
Chicago
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Calgary
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Columbus
Real Salt Lake 6:30 PM
New England
Sporting Kansas City 7:30 PM
Houston
D.C. 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
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