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Mark Sanchez has a strong supporter in Bill Cowher

There aren't a ton of Mark Sanchez supporters these days. A horrid 2012 season erased much of the goodwill the New York Jets quarterback built during AFC championship runs in 2009 and 2010.


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CBS analyst Bill Cowher, who won the 2005 Super Bowl as the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, still believes in Sanchez.

"There has been so much transition going on there," Cowher told The Star-Ledger's Dave Hutchinson. "Now he has another new coordinator. Another new offensive system. The only thing I will say is (the Jets) went to two AFC Championship games with Mark Sanchez in his first couple of years.

"Granted, he was surrounded by a very good supporting cast, a very good defense, a good running game. But I don't think it's fair to throw this all on him when you had a banged-up offensive line, you had no skill position players."

Former quarterback and ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer recently said fired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was a horrible influence on Sanchez. The offense also was devoid of talent at the offensive skill positions once Santonio Holmes went down with a foot injury.

"I don't know where (Sanchez) is (as a player) but I think to say what he is based on last year's performance is unfair," Cowher said. "(Dustin) Keller wasn't there early in the year. Santonio Holmes wasn't there. They were playing with maybe a third and fourth receiver as their best receiver.

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"If they can get Santonio Holmes back and get a few good skill position players around him, let's see what he can do. Again, he proved that when he has had a supporting cast, he took them to two AFC Championship games. I'm not saying he's that type of quarterback, but those are the facts."

Still, Sanchez has a lot to clean up after posting 18 interceptions and 14 fumbles last season. Marty Mornhinweg should be an improvement at offensive coordinator, but the Jets continue to need help on offense. They have the opportunity to address that with the No. 9 and No. 13 overall picks in the draft, though cornerback is a need after Darrelle Revis was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bottom line, Sanchez has to make better decisions in 2013 and the Jets need to provide him with more help.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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