Eli Manning praises Mark Sanchez, reminds people he hasn’t always been popular
New York sports fans aren’t exactly the most patient bunch in America. They want results and they want them fast. When the Jets traded up in the first round to get Mark Sanchez four years ago, the mindset became Super Bowl or bust. Sanchez led the team to two AFC Championships in his first two seasons as starting quarterback, but last year was a disappointment. Despite the slide, Eli Manning said he is confident Sanchez has a bright future ahead of him.
Now that Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, it’s easy to forget that he too has hit some of the lowest of lows during his eight-year career in New York.
“I don’t know if there was a date or a time,” Manning explained according to the NY Daily News. “My fourth year wasn’t so great in the regular season. Played well through the playoffs. The next year, we played pretty well. It’s kind of in the last two years, three years, I’ve gotten better and better and each year learned something or had something I needed to improve on.”
During his fourth NFL season, Manning threw 20 interceptions. He threw just one in the playoffs that year along the way to a Lombardi Trophy and the greatest upset in NFL history.
“Last year was a tough year,” Manning said of Sanchez’s performance. “The two previous years he played great. I think he’s got a lot of upside to him and will be a good quarterback for a long time in the league.”
I don’t know if I would call 29 touchdowns and 33 interceptions over a two-year span “great,” but Sanchez obviously did enough. Last year he did not. This season, he and the rest of the Jets will have to find a way to make a new offense with a celebrity backup quarterback work. If they can and their defense returns to form, they could easily become an AFC contender. If Sanchez and Tebow can’t coexist, things could quickly turn uglier than they were last season.