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Sanchez's growth could be delayed by lack of time with WRs

William Perlman/The Star-Ledger/US Presswire
Mark Sanchez (right) has had little time to work with his receivers, especially new target Plaxico Burress (center).

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The news coming out of Jets camp on Thursday was about the wide receivers. Plaxico Burress' minor ankle injury delayed his return to football. Wide out Jericho Cotchery was cut after he asked to be traded or released.

Cotchery's request came at the same time veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason was at the facility taking a physical. All signs point to Mason joining the Jets sooner rather than later.

Still, the real news might be buried a little deeper.

With two new receivers -- even if Mason isn't signed, a new receiver will fill Cotchery's role and Burress replaces Braylon Edwards -- third-year quarterback Mark Sanchez's evolution could be on hold for a bit. Maybe a month or two, maybe longer, but it could be on hold.

There is a lot of optimism among the Jets that Sanchez is set to make the big step a lot of quarterbacks make in Year 3, but continuity is an important part of that process for receivers and quarterbacks. That's why they spend so much time in the offseason working out together, lockout or not.

Timing is everything between quarterbacks and receivers and achieving that takes time. While players change teams every year and the learning curve varies, chemistry usually is gained in minicamps, organized team activities and the like. Not this season. Not for Sanchez -- or a lot of quarterbacks around the NFL.

Still, Sanchez hasn't played too much catch with Burress or Mason -- or for that matter, Santonio Holmes, the Jets' No. 1 receiver. General manager Mike Tannenbaum said that Sanchez will put in all the time needed, working before and after practice with his receivers, to make sure things are right. But there's no denying the work ahead -- maybe more on Sanchez's part getting the others up to speed since he's been in the system for three seasons.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said that his team will throw the ball more than the previous two seasons. Sanchez doesn't have to be Drew Brees-accurate. However, he needs to be more consistent and show up bigger in normal games and normal situations instead of waiting until the huge game and the huge moment to prove why this team has so much faith in him.

With the Jets getting so close to Super Bowls the past two seasons, Sanchez will have a little more pressure to deliver. That pressure starts now by helping the new receivers that have been entrusted to him to produce.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.



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