Trojan trio is NFL perfect
A Heisman Trophy winner, Rose Bowl MVP, and career back up. Three Trojan quarterbacks have taken their games to the next level, and find themselves commanding the huddle on Sundays. Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, and Matt Cassel not only captured the riches of the NFL, they continue to reward with victories. Together they combined for a perfect 3-0 mark over the weekend, which was a duplicate of the last.
With Southern California’s former gunslingers at the helm, the Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, and New York Jets are 6-0 respectively over the last two weeks of football, and 7-2 overall. Cassel’s Chiefs hold a perfect season mark of 3-0 and sit alone atop the AFC West, while Palmer and Sanchez bounced back from opening day losses to remain in their divisional hunts.
Matt Cassel is the more intriguing story, when you consider his Chiefs remain unbeaten, despite his 75.4 passer rating. He passed for just 68 yards in the opening victory over division favorite San Diego, and has thrown just 4 touchdowns to three interceptions on the season.
Carson Palmer has a pair of high profile receivers in his possession, but checks in at a lower mark (71.3). The 2002 Heisman Trophy winner threw for nearly 350 yards in the opening loss to the Patriots, which saw him complete 34 of 50 pass attempts, but he’s completed just 35 passes for 362 yards in the two games since.
And then we have New York’s golden boy, Mark Sanchez. Playing in a city known for its heavy media criticism of athletes not performing up to par, Sanchez has managed to silence those critics that piled on him last year. The former Rose Bowl offensive MVP isn’t perfect, but he is closer to the mark than his Trojan brothers. With a 104.9 passer rating, Sanchez has remained interception free, while providing 6 aerial touchdowns for Gang Green. Since Brian Schottenheimer scrapped the conservative approach, Sanchez, who was shut out of the end zone in the 10-9 opening loss to the Ravens, has thrown for 3 touchdowns in each of the last two games.
As much as I would like to declare each as franchise saviors, the reality is that the Chiefs success has come on the wheels of a running game currently ranked as the NFL’s best. Carson Palmer is supported by a top-10 defense that allows for offensive risk taking and can easily correct mistakes. But as much as the Jets have been hyped as one of the league’s best defenses and rushing attacks, the truth, after week three, is that New York ranks no better than 20th defensively and 9th carrying the rock. This is a team relying heavily on the performance of their quarterback, whether they are willing to admit it or not.
Carson Palmer and Matt Cassel were molded by quarterback guru Norm Chow while at USC. Mark Sanchez is a product of Steve Sarkisian.