Commentary

Rex Ryan's uphill battle

Great defense guarantees playoffs, but a Super Bowl needs more from Mark Sanchez

Originally Published: September 1, 2010
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesRyan's bluster about his D makes Jets fans happy, but the focus needs to be on the development of Mark Sanchez.

In all of the cacophony and turmoil surrounding the Darrelle Revis contract situation, there has been one consistently reassuring voice for Jets fans. Rex Ryan has stated repeatedly that the Jets' defense will "play great" and has even gone so far as to say that New York will have the best defense in the league.

If all the talk about the defense proves correct -- and the running game of Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson and others grounds out yards -- then, yes, the major limiting factor could again be QB Mark Sanchez; he really didn't perform well last season but was good enough to get New York to the AFC title game.

So how well will Sanchez have to play to get the Jets back to that level and beyond?

If history is any indicator, unless he somehow finds a way to crack the top 10 in passer rating, New York almost certainly won't make it to and/or win the Super Bowl no matter how great its defense plays.


To see KC's full historical breakdown of what it means to have a top-five defense and various levels of QB accumen, you need to be an ESPN Insider.