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QBs: We're Ready for Minicamp

Posted Jun 5, 2013

Transcripts of Mark Sanchez's and Geno Smith's news conferences in the locker room following Wednesday's OTA practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On the difference between this week and last week…

Same old, I think guys are just getting more and more comfortable with the system, Marty [Mornhinweg]'s calls, his mannerisms, what he’s thinking on specific plays and reads, but I thought it’s been heated competition, it’s been fun over every position. I think guys are working hard. We’re right at that point where we’re ready for minicamp. We’ll see.

On practicing the red zone offense…

Any time you do red zone in practice, it’s not like a game where you’ve game-planned for specific looks and boom, it’s either wide open or it’s not and we’re kicking field goals, scoring points and feeling good no matter what. Against our defense, they’ll troubleshoot your protections, they’ll make you get to your checkdowns, they’ll force you to throw the ball away at times. So we’re really just working on our timing and then reacting to what they’re doing, instead of really game-planning for something. So in an 18-play period, if you score a couple times and you have to throw the ball away, well, you just have to make the right decision and understand that you’re throwing the ball away more than you really would in a game.

On whether the defense has been doing well in practice because it’s so good or because it’s familiar with the personnel and what the offense is running…

A little bit of both, our familiarity with their system at times at certain positions, whether it’s Nick [Mangold] or myself, who have played against Rex [Ryan]'s defense for a while, but then trying to reiterate that knowledge to other guys and pass that on to anticipate some things. It’s a little different than a gameplan, but I thought we got some good plays in there, I thought we scored a couple times down on the goal line, we got some timely completions and played well for the most part. But it’s been good the last few days.

On if he’s where he wants to be with his grasp of the offense…

I think so, nine OTAs in, and whatever we had before that, some workouts, some meetings. I think this is right where we’re supposed to be. We’re starting to turn the corner there where we’re starting to be a little sharper, certainly anticipate some things and understand some of the what-ifs of each play and not just the perfect look. I think we’re doing well.

On having receivers miss time due to injury…

I think you just have to control what you can. Whether it’s a rookie free agent, whether it’s a veteran, a guy that we just signed in [Ben] Obomanu, it doesn’t matter. Whoever’s out there, you expect them and trust them to run the right routes, be at the right spot at the right time, and if they’re not, you just go to your next progression and move on. If that means it’s a throw-away drill, then that’s all you can do. So that’s really where my focus is at, just getting the protection right, feeling good about knowing where my hots are, and then going through the progression.

On if he thinks his top receivers will be ready for minicamp…

I have no idea. I have no idea what’s going to happen with Tone [Santonio Holmes], if he’s going to be ready to go, and then, Stephen [Hill], Clyde [Gates], JK [Jeremy Kerley] was out there a little bit today. So we’ll see. I have no idea.

On the receivers staying healthy…

You just try to stay healthy, push those guys along. I know [head athletic trainer] John Mellody is doing everything he can with his staff to get those guys back, but you have to come in in shape ready to go and you have to try to avoid those injuries at all costs because it makes things harder. This is the time where you really develop timing and chemistry with your wide outs.

When you don’t have them out there, you just have to do the best job you can with the guys you have and I think they’ve done a great job of stepping up. There are guys that nobody has heard of that have really made a name for themselves in these camps. We’ve come up with some funny nicknames for some of them because you don’t even know their names and they’re just in there. But that’s all part of the deal and it makes it fun.

On which unheralded player has the funniest nickname…

I’ll keep it private.

On Geno Smith’s performance so far and being comfortable with Coach Mornhinweg…

I think Geno is doing a great job. I think he’s working hard. He’s studying and really doing his best. I just feel comfortable. I feel like this is the kind of coordinator and system that puts you in a good spot. I think Marty’s real intent is to get us to really understand what he’s talking about, exactly what he wants us to do, listen to him every detail and go make it happen.

There are a couple times a game where he’s always told us that you’re going to be on your own. There’s going to be somebody free. There’s going to be a look we didn’t expect and that’s when he’s going to trust us to make the right decision. Every other time, you have to just trust him and do exactly what he says. I feel good about the competition and I think I’m having one of my best offseasons.

On if he thinks this is the first time the media has charted Smith’s passes…

I don’t think anybody’s gone through that in college. That’s a whole new animal, especially here in this market. It’s just a part of the deal and what you sign up for. But I’m just worried about what we’re doing on the field. What anybody on the outside is charting, I don’t have any control over that. I’m just worried about getting completions. I’m worried about talking to Coach [David] Lee, seeing what his feelings are on practice, Coach Mornhinweg, getting with the offensive line coach [Mike Devlin], going over protections, those are the things that are important. Anything else is really unimportant.

On throwing the ball away more now compared to past offseasons…

I think it’s been more prevalent in this offseason just because of putting in a new system, working against a new defense, working against exotic looks, having a lot of young guys play, there’s a few miscommunications out there. So when that happens, just get rid of it, dirt it and move on to the next play.

On if he felt the team was behind going into last season due to receivers being injured throughout the offseason…

You can never point out things like that as you’re going into a season. You’re just getting ready for the season. Whoever’s up is up. Looking back on the whole season, we didn’t have a healthy receiver from the beginning of the offseason to the very last game we played. We never had everybody out on the field that was on paper a starter. I think maybe one preseason game. But other than that, it’s been that way the last two years, so that’s just the way it goes.

On competing for the starting spot this season…

I’ve competed my whole life, whether it was in high school or college, beating out other quarterbacks my first year here playing with Kellen [Clemens], that’s all I’ve known. So this is nothing new. It’s nothing big or scary. I’m just being myself and doing my very best and that will be good enough.

On the competition being wide open for the first time in his NFL career…

I think that first year it was.

On being in a wide-open competition for the first time since his rookie year…

So it’s just like college, it’s just like my first year.

On if he enjoys being pushed…

It doesn’t bother me. I’m apathetic to it.

On feedback from the coaches…

They let you know when you do well. They let you know when you don’t. I’ve heard some good things. I think I’m making good decisions out there. I think I’m taking care of the ball well. I think my accuracy is where it needs to be and I think it’s just one of those things, you keep fighting, you keep working and try to improve every day. And that will be good enough.

On the two-minute drill in the current system…

It’s a little different. Each coach has their own specific two-minute package. Some of the main things stay the same. You want to start the very first play with a completion, a positive run or whatever it is, you have to get a first positive play, or else you put yourself in deep. Avoiding sacks and penalties is huge. Knowing every way possible to stop the clock, whether that means, we went through a great lesson last week with the defense with a guy getting hurt on offense without a timeout, so when somebody gets hurt on offense and you don’t have a timeout and they stay on the field due to injury, you’re losing that timeout or you could get a runoff depending on where the clock is in the game. So little things like that you go through and personnel substitutions and stuff.

I really enjoy the system as a whole. The two-minute is no different. I think a lot of times in two-minute those basic plays, those quick completions, things like that, just catch a defense off guard. The faster you can line up, the faster you can communicate, the better you do. And sometimes it’s the easiest stuff that works.

On what he thinks of his current situation…

I’m having a great time. I’m in an awesome situation. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. That’s how I always feel. I just have a positive attitude. I’m trying to bring those guys along, get guys working hard, study my butt off and prepare each day. Whether it’s a competition or whatever you call it, I’m going to be ready. I’m going to give it my best, feel good about it and move on. Anything on the outside, I just can’t help. We talked about it last week, whether it’s criticism about this or that, or what you’re wearing or who you’re seeing, who cares? Honestly, who cares? I’m just worried about moving the ball downfield trying to hit where I’m aiming at, getting the ball in the end zone, advancing the team and making good decisions. Other than that, sorry.

On being constantly scrutinized…

Of course, that’s just the way it is.

On if he has a good enough grasp on the system to run it when the season starts…

Oh yeah, I’ll be ready for that. I feel good enough, even if we had to do it today. I feel good with this stuff to have a brief study session like that.

On Mornhinweg relating to players…

Just to see the way Marty installs plays, he can reach everybody in the room. We’re talking about guys from different walks of life, who’ve grown up differently, who’ve experienced different things, and sometimes one analogy doesn’t blanket everybody and make sure everybody gets it. Marty just has a way of explaining it and it comes from his experience. He’s explained it to thousands of players. That kind of experience that he can lean on, it really helps.

Knowing specific looks, specific situations, going through every different coverage on a specific play when it’s an important red zone play, those things are huge and when you hear your coordinator say that, it just gives you confidence. You know for a fact he’s got this down, everything he’s telling you. Those things are gold. I don’t think I’ve gone through more notebooks ever. Everything he’s saying is important stuff and it gives me confidence knowing that he’s going to put me in a good spot and now it’s my job to go make the throw.

On if Geno Smith will be at Jets West…

I have no idea.

On Steve Young saying he saw him to be a broken-down quarterback and if he felt that way…

Not at all, Just because you lose games, whether it’s a few games in a row over a couple of seasons, regardless of circumstances, personnel issues, things like that, your confidence doesn’t change. If we’re going out to play another game, I’m expecting to win. Nothing changes, no matter who’s out there, no matter who’s on my team or their team, I’m going to go win. That’s what we did those first couple years. We had a little rough patch here and we’ll dig our way out. Each year is a whole new animal. We’ll attack that way, but my confidence has not wavered.

On what he would say to Jets fans about the starting quarterback…

Don’t worry about that. Jets fans will be fine. They’ll be fine. They’re loyal and we’ll be just fine.

QB GENO SMITH

On his progression in OTAs …

Progressing well. Becoming more and more comfortable with the offense, scans. Being able to see things a lot quicker. Still, a lot of work to go, a lot more practices ahead of me. Up until this point I feel that I have had some really good strides and have been making really good improvements.

On how the defense challenges him…

They challenge us every day. Not only from a physical standpoint but having really good athletes, guys who can fly around, defensive linemen who run like linebackers and linebackers who run like safeties and corners. A mental standpoint. They mix up the coverages, they do a great job disguising blitzes. It really helps us prepare. Watching film on these guys is really helping me out a lot because I’ve been able to adjust, do different things on the fly. But like I said, there is still a lot to be done at this point. I’m still working, still learning.

On Muhammad Wilkerson’s joke that it wasn’t his day…

First of all that’s Mo [Muhammad Wilkerson]. He’s a great player. He’s one of the best defensive tackles, I think in my opinion in the league. He flies around. You’ll see that guy, I'll scramble and break the pocket and he’s right there on my trail. I set up to throw and he’s athletic enough to jump. He makes it difficult on all of us. It’s just good to have guys like that out there competing and just welcoming me into the NFL.

On if he experienced guys playing like that at West Virginia…

Not at practice. Not every single day. I think that’s the blessing of being here. Being able to see Rex’s defense, being able to see guys like Mo, Antwan Barnes, Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson, big cornerbacks like Cro [Antonio Cromartie]. All of these guys out there on defense. They’re vets, they know what they are doing. They come to compete daily. I think that really helps the team.

On how he measures his progress…

First of all it’s just bringing it to practice, coming to practice ready to compete, coming to practice focused, ready to go. Taking advantage of every single rep, mental reps even when I’m not in. Just learning from every single experience. Obviously the coaches are going to do the grading but you have pretty much the knowledge of where you did good, where you did bad. I mean every quarterback, every player has that. Once you get into the film room Coach Lee, Coach Mornhinweg they do a great job relaying messages to us. Letting us know, hey you need to do better here maybe speed my feet up here, maybe get the ball out quicker here. Every single day is a learning experience and really that’s how I grade myself.

On if it feels like this is a fierce quarterback competition...

Yes, it does. Every single day in practice we compete hard. Not just on team periods, but it’s in walkthroughs. It’s in individual periods, it’s in everything. That’s the nature of the game. It’s just good to have a guy like Mark who’s welcome to teaching me things, he’s open to the completion. He’s great spirited about it. It really allows us to get along off the field, but on the field still compete and still fight for the job.

On if he is enjoying the competition…

Yes. I enjoy playing football, I enjoy every day of practice. I enjoy all of this. It comes with the territory. I am extremely blessed to be in the NFL. I just try and take full advantage of my opportunity.

On what he has learned since joining the team…

Some things I learned is just, just how to be a pro, how to do things in the right manner, how to conduct yourself. That’s something I really didn’t need to learn, just learn how to deal with everything that comes with it. Also just learning on the field. Being able to catch up to the speed of other guys out there like the vets. Like I said, they know exactly what they’re doing and they just fly around out there. Being in competition with Mark, and being able to go out there and compete. Learning from Coach Lee, Coach Mornhinweg, trying to understand the offense fully. Everything is just a learning process. Every single thing that I go through on a daily basis is going to be a learning process for me.

Every day in the professional world is and I take advantage of it to and to use it to learn from it.

On what he has learned specifically…

Everything.

On if he had learned the read option at West Virginia…

My first two years, when Coach Stewart was head coach, under Dan Miller, Jeff Miller, I’m sorry, Jeff Miller. We had pretty much a west coast style. We also ran some read option. I think it’s just a good way to keep defenses honest. It’s become a trend more in the NFL with athletic quarterbacks. It’s something I’m welcome to doing and I take full advantage of those reps out on the field.

On if Coach Mornhinweg will try to incorporate it this season…

I don’t know how much of it we will use. I think it all depends on the game plan but we’re working it right now.

On if today was one of the tougher days for the offense…

I think it’s just best that we go out there, compete and learn from it. You have your ups and downs. Sometimes the offense is going to win, sometimes the defense is going to win some drills. The key thing is that you learn something from every single snap and every single rep. That’s what I try and do when Mark’s in, even when I’m in, with Greg [McElroy] in and when Matt [Simms] is in, just trying to take mental reps and when I’m on the field just trying to maximize the reps that I do have.

On getting Holmes and Hill back…

I think it will help. Those guys are great receivers. Those guys also bring a great dynamic to the offense, but like I said, we have to take advantage of what we have here now. The guys that we have in are out there competing their butts off, doing a great job of getting in and out of reps, in and out of routes, and just doing a great job overall. The offensive line did a tremendous job of picking up blitzes and protecting today. Overall I think the offense is still progressing and I think guys are still learning, but we’re still working at it.

On if he feels that he will have enough time to be the starter in Week 1…

There’s no timeline on that. It’s just about maximizing the reps I have out here on the practice field. Whether or not I will be ready or not totally depends on that day and we’re far from that. I can’t even set my mind on it. I’m just focused on what I have here now.

On if he is encouraged by the successful rookie quarterbacks last season…

They all went through the same process that I’m going through now. Every single quarterback is different. Every single situation is different, so I’m not going to try and look at theirs and compare it to mine. I’m just going to work on what I have here and that’s getting better in practice and making sure that I bring it to practice every day, the meeting rooms. Every single time I step into this building, being honed in and being focused.

On if it would be beneficial for him to watch early on in his career…

Like I said, everything happens with time. I’m not going to put a timeline on anything. I’m just going to continue to focus on what I have here and that’s working hard. That happens day by day. You can’t look ahead and you can’t look behind you. Especially not at this position. I’m just focused on what I have to do now and that’s compete.

On if it is hard to be leader in the NFL like he was in college…

I don’t think so. I think my job is to be a leader and that comes natural. It’s not about putting on a façade or acting in a certain way. I just go out there and do things that come natural to me. I go out there and try to motivate the guys. I try to talk to them as much as I can. I don’t really see guys as being down or spirits being down. I think we have a really good group of guys who compete and they keep their heads up – good or bad plays. Because you’ve got to focus on the next play, not the last play.

On what qualities make for a good quarterback…

There’s a number of traits. I think that the biggest think is winning games – figuring out ways to win games.

One the veteran players helping and leading the rookies…

The vets did a great job of welcoming us in. We’re all out there competing. We’re all out there on the same side of the ball. I don’t think it’s a situation where guys are like ‘you’ve got to do this or do that.’ Guys are teaching us. We’re learning and that’s the good thing about it. I don’t see anyone giving those vibes. Now that’s just my opinion, but overall I think it’s been great.

On how he has been a leader with the rookies..

It’s been the same thing. I just continue to do things that have gotten me here, which is be myself. I don’t stray away from that. I have trust in my abilities but at the same time I understand that hard work and preparation is what’s going to get you there. So that’s what I’m trying to do and when I’m out on the field, I communicate with the guys. They’re all very friendly. It’s not hard to along with any of them.

On the claim that he has been a more vocal leader with the players this week…

I think that is just an opinion. One opinion.

On why he and Sanchez are talking differently about being the starting quarterback…

I don’t know. You can tell me better than I can tell you that. Like I said, I think that’s opinionated. Like I don’t interview Mark. It’s not a thing with me about whether he saying one thing and I’m saying another. It’s just about us competing and that’s what we do. We have a really good relationship on and off the field.

On if he feels that he has to take the starting job from Sanchez since he is the incumbent…

I’ve got to work. That’s what I’ve got to do and that’s what I plan on doing. I’ve got to go in with the right mindset, come in with the right mindset and take advantage of my reps and prove to the coaches whether or not I should be the starter. And I think we all do here. That’s Rex’s motto and that’s playing the Jet way. Just work hard and things will happen.

On if he considers each practice as an opportunity to get better…

That’s it. That’s exactly it. Every single time I step out on the field. Sometimes I go out on my own and it’s just about me getting better and trying to improve on things, daily. Even the small things, such as cadence and being able to spit out the information to get in and out of the huddle quickly. It’s just small things. I do that sometimes when I’m in my room. Sometimes I’m doing it on my own on the field and most of the time I’m out there with my teammates.

On if he sets weekly goals for himself…

My goal is to keep learning, to keep studying, to keep improving.

Do you still expect to win the starting job…

We’ll see.
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