Bob Glauber has been Newsday's national football columnist since 1992. He was Newsday's football writer covering the Jets
Beloved Jets fans, we feel your angst about Mark Sanchez.
Is he the answer at quarterback for the long term? Has he regressed this year after a promising first two seasons? Can he really win a championship?
All legitimate questions as the Jets continue to cling to hope at 6-5 and attempt to make the playoffs for a third straight season under the Sanchez-Rex Ryan partnership.
But look at the bright side: At least you're not Redskins fans.
You want to talk quarterback futility? Look no further than the Jets' opponent in Sunday's matchup at FedEx Field. These poor souls have been so starved for a winner that they'd trade places in a second.
Consider: The Jets have won more playoff games in Sanchez's first two seasons (four) than the Redskins have since the team was purchased in 1999 by Daniel Snyder (two). The Redskins haven't made it past the divisional round; Sanchez has helped the Jets to two straight AFC Championship Game appearances.
So take a moment in your evaluation of Sanchez and just think of how bad it could be. The Redskins have gone through more quarterbacks than you can imagine since their heyday as three-time Super Bowl champions in the 1980s. And not one of those QBs has come close to even one conference title game in his entire run with the Redskins, much less his first two years.
Now don't get the wrong idea here. We're not anointing Sanchez as the next Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, or even the next Eli Manning. But in a league in which coaching and quarterback stability are in short supply, the overall body of work through two-plus seasons for Ryan and Sanchez is very good.
Maybe it doesn't seem that way, especially when Ryan spends so much time talking about how good his team is and making all those promises of a Super Bowl. But it's certainly a lot better than the alternative, especially when you think about all that Redskins fans have had to endure over the years. Especially during the Snyder years.
Money is no object for the former AOL magnate, but the Redskins are proof that you can't buy a title and you can't buy a quarterback. They've been through a ton of them since '99: Brad Johnson. Jeff George. Mark Brunell. Tony Banks. Shane Matthews. Patrick Ramsey. Jason Campbell. Donovan McNabb.
And now it's Rex Grossman, who got the Bears to a Super Bowl in 2006 but hasn't done much since. Grossman replaced the ineffective McNabb last season, won the job this year, was benched at midseason for John Beck and got his starting job back after Beck fizzled.
The Redskins are 27th in the NFL in points scored, at 16.6 per game, and 14th in passing, at 236 yards per game. Grossman has 10 TD passes and 14 interceptions.
The Redskins had high hopes when they hired quarterback guru Mike Shanahan as head coach in 2010, but even he hasn't been able to solve the team's quarterback quandary. Complicating the situation further: Shanahan opted not to go for a quarterback in the 2011 draft, in which six blue-chip passers went in the first 35 picks. So chances are the Redskins' issues at the most important position won't be resolved anytime soon.
The Jets? Well, the Sanchez-Ryan duo has a chance to achieve something no Jets quarterback-coach tandem has done since the Joe Namath-Weeb Ewbank era: produce three straight winning seasons. The last time it happened was 1967-69, with Namath delivering the team's only Super Bowl victory after the 1968 season.
In last Sunday's 28-24 win over the Bills, Sanchez drove the Jets to the winning score with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter. It was his eighth comeback win in the fourth quarter or overtime since the start of the 2010 season, the most by any NFL quarterback. "[Sanchez] hung in there when times were tough," Plaxico Burress said, "and that's what it's all about."
Look, we're not putting Sanchez in Namath's class just yet; he needs to win a championship before he belongs in that conversation. And there's no guarantee he'll pan out as the Jets' long-term quarterback. All things considered, however, this franchise is a lot farther ahead in the big picture than the one the Jets will be seeing on the opposite sideline Sunday.
No, it doesn't guarantee a win over Washington, or a third straight playoff appearance. But all things considered, it sure beats the alternative.
Just ask a Redskins fan.