When the New York Jets signed Michael Vick last Friday, the Eagles were left with a need for an experienced quarterback to add to the depth chart. A week later, the Eagles filled that role, signing Mark Sanchez to a one-year deal. The former Jet will be wearing a different shade of green in 2014, and many experts from around the league believe that Sanchez is a great fit for the Eagles.
"I think when you look at Mark Sanchez, here's a quarterback who's been to the AFC Championship Game twice. People forget about that," said ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan. "This guy is an experienced quarterback and unfortunately he was doing very well in the preseason but suffered a shoulder injury when he went back in the preseason game. Now that he is almost done with his rehab, I think he's going to be an excellent backup. I think he provides a team the experience that you need at the backup quarterback position."
As Caplan mentioned, Sanchez injured his right shoulder in the Jets' third preseason game of 2013. After exploring his options, the USC product elected for surgery to repair his torn labrum in early October. The injury may have caused possible suitors to shy away from the quarterback, but ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton believes that the shoulder injury shouldn't cause that much concern, and that a change of scenery may be just what Sanchez was looking for.
"He was never the strongest-armed guy but Nick Foles isn't the strongest-armed guy, and I think the fact that he's got experience, I think that he can pick up the offense pretty well, and you recover from these things," said Clayton. "Look at Drew Brees, his shoulder had to almost be taken off, that's how bad that shoulder was, and he's come back and played at a Pro-Bowl level, so I don't have any worries about that.
"I think that Mark just needed a change. Not that it got stale there, but it was really unfair what happened with him. It's a shame that he didn't go out and get a chance at a starting job because he was let go so late, but I think it's a good fit because he was one of the better guys on the market, and if anything happens to Nick, he can come in and start."
The fifth-overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Sanchez played his first four seasons with the Jets under head coach Rex Ryan, who is well known for his defensive background. Now, Sanchez will get to work with Chip Kelly, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, three men with outstanding offensive pedigrees.
According to Peter King of The MMQB, sometimes a player just needs the right guidance to reach his true potential.
"I remember a long time ago, maybe it was after his second Super Bowl win, I was talking to Tom Brady and I just mentioned to him 'Can you imagine if you went, let's say, to the Cardinals or the Raiders, instead of going to the Patriots,'" King recalled. "He said 'Yeah, I'll tell you what would have happened. I'd be on my third team now or I'd be out of football.'
"The Jets, without any question, have been a good but dysfunctional organization over the last five years, and to me, I look at Mark Sanchez as the kind of guy who with a fresh start is going to do well. Now in my opinion, what worries me about Sanchez is the fact that he's been a 55 percent passer in total. You can't be a great quarterback if you're inaccurate. If Kelly and the coaching staff look at him and say 'Here's why we think he wasn't as accurate, and here's what we can do.' That's the best thing that they can do for him, because I just think you'll have a difficult time long term if you have a quarterback who is only completing half of his passes."
Another reason why Sanchez makes sense for the Eagles, according to Ian Rapoport, national insider for the NFL Network and NFL.com, is that not only will the Eagles offense bring out the best of Sanchez's game, but that the fifth-year pro has the right mentality to play in Philadelphia.
"It's an interesting fit because it wasn't the first place that I thought of just because the offense is so different, but physically Sanchez is good," said Rapoport. "He's strong, he's got a good arm, he's accurate enough, and he certainly has played in a lot of big games and played well.
"He's got to make sure that his head is in the right place, but I think the best thing about Chip Kelly's offense, when I talk to people around the league- and obviously for players it was a fascination this year just because they hadn't seen anything like it and they wanted to know how it works -what they all say is, and I'm sure (the Eagles) say the same thing, is that it's simple. It looks complicated, but it's simple, and I think that Sanchez is really going to benefit from that- Easy decision-making, getting rid of it quickly, using the type of skills that he has, and by the way, Philadelphia is not the easiest place in the world to play. You've got to have a special type of personality to play there, I feel like, and he's been through the waters and I feel like he'll be ready for that."
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider.