Game Breaker: Mark Sanchez’s ‘Giant’ Interception

Game Breaker:  Mark Sanchez’s ‘Giant’ Interception

This is a guest post by Steve B @SB_II

SB_II @e_man Erik, I’ve written an illustrated piece on Sanchez’s throwing mechanics during his pick 6 on Sat. Interested in it for your site? 8/21/12 9:57 AM

If Mark Sanchez was a professional boxer, it’s very unlikely that you would ever have heard of him. Why? Video footage of the pick-6 that he threw against the New York Giants on Saturday night reveals all…

The worlds that are inhabited by professional boxers and quarterbacks are not as different as many people might perhaps imagine they are. Essentially both disciplines are all about throwing – the only real difference is that while a boxer throws punches, a QB throws footballs, and so in terms of technique the basic principles apply to both arts.

Sanchez’s Pick Six

Anybody who has ever thrown anything (tantrums not included, Andy Murray) will not need me to tell them that the majority of power is generated below the waist. Weight is distributed on the back leg and then, as the throw/punch is delivered, momentum is generated by rapidly shifting that weight onto the front foot. Think of a baseball pitcher on the mound: The motion begins with a ferocious shift of power from the back foot to the front as the pitch is hurled out at tremendous pace.

So much for the role of the legs in generating throwing power. Now, what about Sanchez?

When I sat down to analyze what went wrong when he delivered his second-quarter interception against the Giants, it immediately became stark, staring obvious that as he drew his arm back in preparation for the throw, his weight was already shifted onto the front foot (Picture 1).

Picture 1

In Picture 2 we see that he is about to begin thrusting the right arm forward in order to deliver the ball. Theoretically this is the point at which the weight should be transferred from the back foot to the front. But because Sanchez has never had any weight on his back foot he is unable to do this, and consequently the legs remain as they were and no power is generated.

Picture 2

Finally we see that as the ball is thrown (Picture 3) Sanchez’s weight distribution has hardly changed at all from where it was back in Picture 1, with the result being that all of the throw’s power has been generated by sheer upper-body strength.

Picture 3

The ultimate consequence of this was that by the time the throw had arrived at Sanchez’s intended destination his target, Patrick Turner, had already passed that spot, and so the ball arrived in perfect time for the trailing Jayron Hosley to pick it off and eagerly gallop forward to collect his tasty 6-point reward.

Rex Ryan and the rest of his coaching staff have been eager to convince the world that Sanchez has ironed out any remaining technical flaws – particularly in terms of his feet. But on this evidence, perhaps they might be wise to look at what’s slightly above – because until he masters the basics of throwing, the Jets will never get close to a shot at the title fight.