Mark Sanchez playoff bound and others going with him
Pete Carroll wanted Mark Sanchez to stay for another season. He spoke of the need for further development and the failure rate that accompanies junior quarterbacks making the NFL leap. Sanchez passed on the advice and jumped into the NFL’s first round and the arms of the New York Jets.
In a rookie season where he experienced many of those failures his old coach spoke of, Sanchez found himself heavily criticized by those impatient of growth and wanting immediate success. But despite the aches, pains, and scrutiny that are often the companion of quarterbacks in their professional primer, this former Trojans golden boy is playoff bound.
Supported by a stout defense and power running game, Sanchez and his Jets were able to overcome a season filled with errors to punch a ticket to the postseason. Of course, it also helped that others stubbed their toes along the way. Nevertheless, the kid from Southern California that has played many big games under the bright lights will now attempt to lead his team to the biggest of them all.
Sanchez will be in good company, from a Trojans perspective, with a plethora of USC football alum also hitting the playoff trail. He’s joined by some old teammates from years past, including fellow rookie Clay Matthews. Incidentally, it was a clinching victory over the Bengals on Sunday that pulled Mark Sanchez in. And in doing so, Brian Cushing and the Houston Texans were locked out. In all, 18 Trojans will participate, representing 10 NFL teams. Only Baltimore and Minnesota have no Southern California players on roster.
USC Trojans in the 2009 NFL Playoffs
New York Jets– QB Mark Sanchez, RB Chauncey Washington
New England Patriots– LB Junior Seau,
Cincinnati Bengals– QB Carson Palmer, DE Frostee Rucker, LB Keith Rivers, LB Rey Maualuga (injured)
Indianapolis Colts– DT Fili Moala
San Diego Chargers– S Kevin Ellison
New Orleans Saints– RB Reggie Bush, DT Sedrick Ellis, TE Billy Miller
Dallas Cowboys– K David Buehler
Green Bay Packers– LB Clay Matthews
Philadelphia Eagles– OT Winston Justice, DT Mike Patterson
Arizona Cardinals– OG Deuce Lutui, QB Matt Leinart