Data shows Sanchez no better than Henne

KC Joyner, the inimitable Football Scientist, thinks Mark Sanchez is comparable to Joe Namath.

But not in the way New York Jets fans would hope.

Joyner began a column for ESPN Insider by saying, in so many words, Sanchez is overrated because he plays in New York. Joyner then gets into the greater point of the piece: Sanchez isn't any greater than Chad Henne.

That's a sentiment readers have made on the AFC East blog, oh, at least three times over the past couple of years. It's the top argument-starter around these parts.

Joyner broke down the Sanchez-Henne comparison quite clearlyInsider and has been taken aback by the early feedback to his piece, which was posted Thursday morning.

"The most surprising part of the fan response to this is how strongly they are backing Sanchez," Joyner told me in an email. "Jets fans couldn't bash him enough last year. They disagreed with the pro-Sanchez articles I wrote for ESPNNewYork.com last season, and yet when it is said that Henne is just as good as their guy, they can't jump on the 'Sanchez is elite' bandwagon quickly enough."

While the perceptions of Sanchez and Henne are different in the minds of many, partly from the support that's been shown by their respective coaches, Joyner's data shows the young quarterbacks have been quite similar.

Side-by-side, Joyner listed the stats of each quarterback at various passing distances over the past two seasons. Henne led the NFL in medium-distance yards per attempt last year. Those are passes that travel between 11 and 19 yards in the air.

Henne also wins in Joyner's "bad decision" metric, which factors all plays that directly lead to a turnover, dropped interception or fumble recovered by the offense.

Henne posted a bad decision rate of 1.9 (about one every 50 passes) the past two seasons to rate in the top 13 each time. Sanchez's 3.6 composite (about one every 28 passes) over the past two years rates in the bottom six.

There are gobs more interesting stats to mull than those. I recommend clicking on the link. Feel free to return to the AFC East blog to discuss your thoughts in the comments section below.