The Eagles career of Mark Sanchez could well hinge on next few games

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Disbelief is the word that’s echoing around Lincoln Financial Field after the Eagles fell to the Dolphins by no more than a point after leading 16-3 early on. Sam Bradford left the game early with a shoulder injury, paving the way for none other than Mark Sanchez…but his career is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Sam Bradford has a concussion. We know no more than that. The severity of the shoulder issue will be revealed in the coming days but we know for sure that he could well be doubtful for at least next Sunday’s game against Tampa due to the NFL Concussion protocol. That’s without taking into account the shoulder injury which could range anywhere from a separation to an AC Joint problem which he also suffered back in 2009. So the chances of Mark Sanchez starting next weekend and for the short-term future are pretty high as of right now.

So, how did he do tonight? The answer….he played like Sanchez. He come in, completed 62% of his passes, threw for over 100 yards and didn’t look TOO bad…aside from a few prominent factors.

A ball thrown too high for Miles Austin that resulted in a turnover in what could have and should have been a game sealing drive
Tripped over DeMarco Murray
Poor decision making and footwork which led to bad clock management (eg not throwing the ball away)

It’s those critical errors plays when the game is at stake that prevent him from becoming a great Quarterback…he’s being average and that’s the problem. If Sanchez has a similar performance against the Bucs (bear in mind the Eagles went three quarters without a touchdown) and is unable to make anything happen then this could spell trouble.

Sanchez has one more season with the Eagles after this year comes to an end. Chip Kelly would have had more than enough time to grade Sanchez and decide if he is the right man to be the backup to this team. Let’s say that Bradford does sign an extension, the chances of an injury no matter how minor are fairly high. Do you trust Sanchez for a third season when the teams hope of a playoff charge are on the line?

It’s around this time where the Tebow lovers come back out of their caves and say “I told you so” but also a time where fans wonder “what if?”. Could you imagine the amount of hype there would have been if Tim Tebow walked out onto the field instead of Sanchez?

Now this was Mark’s first regular season scenario since the end of last season so there was likely to be some rust..but the pressure will be on from this moment forth if he does have to play. Kelly has made some pretty ballsy moves in his time but IF Sanchez shows no sign of improvement against the Bucs or the Lions (should Bradford still be injured by then) then do you turn to Thad Lewis? Do you release Sanchez at the end of the season and bring in a young prospect in the draft or perhaps “do the thing” and trade for Kaepernick?

This is all speculation of course, for all we know..Sam Bradford could be back next week but the Eagles have had a Quarterback injury EVERY season under Chip Kelly, the backup has to be a reliable option and for me, this is Mark Sanchez’s last chance to prove himself before you simply have to turn your attention elsewhere. Eagles fans will not settle for a second season without playoffs and demand imminent change. If the Quarterback during that crucial final third both times is Mark Sanchez who has shown the same flaws in both seasons then the change would surely have to come from that angle.

Mark Sanchez normally falls into two fandoms so to speak. The group who love him and claim he should be starting over Sam Bradford, not just now but the entire season…and then there are those who see the poor decision making, lack of spacial awareness and turnover troubles that have plagued him since day one. The problem is, if Sanchez can’t iron those out and potentially costs the Eagles playoff hopes two years in a row (that’s a whole new can of worms that admittedly doesn’t just fall on Sanchez) then he may well be be entering free agency a season earlier than intended.

What do you think? Is Mark Sanchez under pressure as an Eagle if Sam Bradford doesn’t return? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @PhiladelphiaSN.

(photo credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On a side note; I appeared on the Philadelphia Eagles Post Game Show sponsored by RICOH earlier and you can watch the segment here!