|Jenkins isn't impressed with Sanchez's leadership skills. (US PRESSWIRE/AP)|
By Ryan Wilson
Former Jets defensive lineman Kris Jenkins has transitioned nicely from the playing field to the analyst's chair. He's made occasional appearances on CBS's The NFL Today, and he had a thoughtful piece in the New York Times in November documenting his life in professional football.
On Thursday, Jenkins spared us the nuance when he took to Mike Lupica's radio show to talk about the unintentional comedy stylings of the New York Jets and Mark Sanchez (transcript via PFT.com).
“The No. 1 quarterback should have said that a long time ago,” Jenkins said, referring to backup Greg McElroy's recent public comments about the sorry state of the Jets locker room. “It would have been all part of the process of him growing a pair and standing up and being a man. But the thing is, he lost his because he got caught up in the wash that is New York, the spotlight, taking pictures in the magazines and doing all that stuff. That’s just what everybody has seen with Mark Sanchez, they got tired of it.”
Aaron Rodgers agrees with the part about fancy clothes and magazine shoots. "I mean look at this -- that's embarrassing," Rodgers said in September of Sanchez's designer wife beater and skinny jeans ensemble. "Page 94 of the GQ thing here, that's terrible."
Also embarrassing and terrible? Sanchez's 2011 season, his third in the NFL, though it wasn't completely his fault. The lack of a running game coupled with an inconsistent defense and the worst team captain in organized sports conspired to wreck the Jets' season and any progress Sanchez might've made.
Jenkins played with Sanchez for parts of the 2009 and 2010 season and admitted that he was impressed by the former USC quarterback's potential. But like intentions and the road to hell, the NFL scrap heap is littered with players with tons of potential who don't do much with it. Right now, that's Sanchez.
“Mark wants to be a leader but there’s a difference between wanting it and taking it,” Jenkins said. “He’s always trying to be a crowd pleaser. He’s always trying to be nice. He wants to be a leader but he won’t take it.”
According to head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum, Sanchez is the Jets' starter heading into 2012. Maybe it's a case of blind loyalty offsetting what seems to be obvious to most folks: despite Sanchez's draft status, he's not a franchise quarterback. And it's not clear he ever will be, especially if Santonio Holmes is on the roster next season.
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