Sanchez: NFL's latest lottery winner
But Sanchez isn't the only quarterback of late to receive the winning ticket the day he got the phone call, mind you. Not by a long shot.
Not all young quarterbacks are so lucky, of course, and if you take a look at the who's who of busts from earlier this decade, including guys like
Before I feel the wrath of everyone in New York and New Jersey, not to mention Steeler Nation, please note that I am not trying to diminish what any of the lottery winners have accomplished. Well, OK, maybe it is a veiled shot at some of the chosen few that have had unprecedented success as a result of the guys they have playing around them.
But they didn't screw it up, and that is saying quite a bit. Like Roethlisberger, Rivers and Flacco, Sanchez has done an admirable job. His greatest asset, so far, has been his ability to stay away from the big mistake. He made one against Houston that didn't cost him, mainly because of the Jets defense. Right behind his ability to minimize mistakes is his knack for making plays in critical situations, most notably in the red zone and on third down.
To their credit, all of the veterans in my little recent lottery winner group have taken their good fortune and run with it. Roethlisberger, Rivers and Flacco have grown by leaps and bounds from their first years as a starter. They have each gone from being along for the ride to driving the bus. Big Ben is as clutch as they come in the NFL with 18 game-winning drives already in his young career. Rivers put up MVP-quality numbers last season and has his side of the ball on the right track again this season. All Flacco has done in Baltimore is given the Ravens their best offensive attack since, well, ever. They finally have a unit that doesn't necessarily have to play second fiddle to
There are other quarterbacks, like
It is important to know that winning the lottery as a quarterback is not exactly fool-proof. Just like real lottery winners go bankrupt, there are some signal callers who either don't realize or don't take advantage of their good fortune. See
No, the Titans are going to have to figure this one out another way. They will try to turn things around, ironically, against Sanchez and his Jets this week. Tennessee would seem to be way too talented and well-coached to fall to 0-3 while losing to a rookie quarterback, but that's similar to what most experts thought before the Jets defeated the Texans and the Patriots. Tennessee may be going against a guy starting only his third NFL game under center, but he clearly is a guy who knows the situation he has been placed into and is taking full advantage of it.