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“The Sanchize” returns in D.C.

At home with his two-year-old son and then all of a sudden he received a call.

It was a call he prayed on, Mark Sanchez revealed during the postgame press conference on Monday. When he received a call that he would tryout for the Washington Redskins he knew it was an opportunity to once again be a part of an NFL team. The call came after quarterback Alex Smith suffered a fractured leg on November 18. 

Sanchez was eventually signed to be the backup quarterback to Colt McCoy but then on Monday, December 3, McCoy went down. That’s when the Redskins called on number six, Sanchez, to lead the team.

“You just never want [the opportunity] under these circumstances, so with respect to Alex and Colt I got to do my very best to play well and help rally this team and figure out a way to win,” Sanchez said. “That’s the ultimate form of respect to those guys…your heart definitely breaks for them. They’re great competitors and great people.”

With the opportunity in front of him, Sanchez has a chance to help the Redskins make the playoffs. In doing so, they would have to overcome their three game losing streak. A streak that has dropped the Redskins from leading the NFC East to now being on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture. However, the bottom third of the NFL would like to be in their position. They are 6-6 with a chance to make the playoffs as they are only one game back from winning the NFC East.

For Sanchez, the former standout quarterback out of USC, he has a shot at the one thing he’s missing.

“I’ve seen just about everything in this league, except for I don’t know, a Super Bowl game,” Sanchez said. 

The journey man and once immediate rookie starting quarterback was at the helm of two deep playoff pushes for the New York Jets in 2009 and 2010. Both of those seasons the Jets reached the AFC Championship game with Sanchez posting a 4-2 playoff record playing all six games on the road. At the time, his four road playoff wins tied an NFL record. 

When Sanchez assumed the starting quarterback role in the second quarter he was inserted in with little time to learn the offense. He was only on the team for 11 days and had no reps with the first team at practice. But when he walked onto the field, the Philadelphia Eagles fans greeted the former Eagle (2014-15) with a standing ovation. On his first play Adrian “All Day” Peterson broke off for a 90-yard rushing touchdown that tied him on the all-time rushing touchdown list with Jim Brown. Washington was up 10-7. However, the Eagles would take the lead going into halftime, 14-13, and pull away in the second half to win 28-13.

After Sanchez led Washington on a drive that led to a field goal before half, the offense struggled in the second half. With Sanchez only being on the team for 14 days the team ran a limited portion of their playbook. Even with the loss, Sanchez said the players overwhelmed him with support.

“All the guys who came up to me were like ‘hey, man. Hang in there, you’re good. We get it, we understand…we’ll rally for you and you’re going to do great next week,’” Sanchez said.

The team’s future Hall of Fame running back expressed during the post game press conference that he was impressed from what he’s seen from Sanchez. Not letting an early turnover get to him and showing that he’s a “competitor” were quality traits, Peterson said. It’s all about getting Sanchez more reps with the team in practice, Peterson said.

“I feel once he has a better understanding of our offense then he’ll be able to come out and play fast,” Peterson said.

Even with the three game slide the team is still thinking playoffs, according to their Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman.

“We know what we got stacked against us. We could go 10-6. That’s the goal,” Norman said. “Go 10-6, win this division, get a playoff bid.”

For Sanchez, next week against the Giants will be his first start since Thanksgiving 2015 when he played with the Eagles. Since then, he was a backup for the Dallas Cowboys in 2016 and Chicago Bears in 2017. This season he was a free agent until he was officially signed on November 19, eight days after his 32nd birthday. Being a starting quarterback this time around will be a little different as it’s his first start since his son was brought into this world. Sanchez expressed his gratitude on Instagram.

“Gracias a Dios por la opportunidad y gracias a mi aficionado número uno… ¡Te amo mijo #httr,” Sanchez captioned his Instagram post which translates to this in English “Thank God for the opportunity and thanks to my number one fan… I love you son.”

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Gino Terrell is the Director of Content at Hidden Valley Culture Blog/In-Depth section. Terrell covered local artists and reviewed mainstream shows in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area under the Twin Cities Daily Planet (2014-15). He also freelanced for MinnPost and interned at Pioneer Press, KSTP TV (the Minneapolis ABC News Affiliate) and American Public Media Group. He's accumulated over 30 awards from the Associated Collegiate Press, Society of Professional Journalists and National Association of Black Journalists and founded award winning student-magazine Pipers In-Depth at Hamline University (St. Paul, Minnesota). He was once the sports editor for the school newspaper, The Oracle. Follow him on Twitter: @Gin026

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