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SANCHEZ: My Job to Play the Way I Know How

Posted Dec 5, 2012

Transcript of quarterback Mark Sanchez's news conference in front of his locker following the Jets' Wednesday afternoon practice at the Atlantic Health Training Center.

On his reaction to Coach Ryan naming him the starter against Jacksonville…

I felt confident in my abilities. I think just coming off of this last weekend, things could be a lot worse. We could have lost the game. Like I said on Sunday, I was happy for Greg [McElroy]. I’m thrilled for the team and I’m pleased with Rex’s decision and now it’s my job to go make them right, not just him but the rest of the guys in the locker room, and to go and compete my butt off and play like I know how. To protect the football, and do it for the rest of the guys in this locker room.

On if he ever thought he wouldn’t be the starter…

I just waited for Rex to make his decision and let us know. That was it.

On if he is aware of the importance of protecting the football…

Of course. It’s a frustrating thing and then to have to step back on one hand, as much as you disagree with the decision, you never want to come out of the game, I understand where he’s coming from because everyone needs to be held accountable, myself included.

Coach said it last week, that we need to take care of the football, and he also made the point after the game when he talked to me that the play by [Patrick] Peterson, those plays happen. The ball gets batted and tipped at the line of scrimmage, those kinds of plays happen. You get blindsided and the ball goes flying in the air, it happens to everybody. But when you make a bad throw on the first play of the game, when you make a bad read and force it to Jeff Cumberland, those can’t fly. He made his decision and we’re all help accountable. I think that was the most important thing.

On if he is worried about making a mistake and coming out of the game…

I’m not really approaching it that way. It’s my job to play the way I know how. These last couple of weeks, and certain stretches of this season, I haven’t. It kind of culminated there on Sunday and hopefully that’s the end of it. I think it is. That’s the way I’ll approach this next one.

On if viewing things from the sidelines changes his prospective…

Of course, you see how fragile the game is and how close we were even with those interceptions. It’s my job to understand the kind of situation we’re in in that game. In that game, our defense was playing lights-out. Yeah, we didn’t hit a couple of field goals, but our special teams were putting us in great position, our punter [Robert Malone] put the ball out of bounds and really negated Peterson and their punt-return team. Things were really going our way and it’s my job to keep them going that way. It’s probably the best and worst experience of my life and hopefully you learn from it, move on and never look back.

On if he thought he wouldn’t see the starting position again…

I don’t really think like that. I knew at some point before I died, I’d start at quarterback at some point. I’m just glad it’s this week.

On if this is the worst experience of his life…

I said it could be. It was definitely the worst but it could turn around and be one of the best things that has happened.

On if he sought advice from any other quarterbacks in the NFL…

You know who I talked to, which is funny since we’re going to Jacksonville, is [Mark] Brunell. He’s been in the same situation. He told me the story that he got pulled, and I don’t remember who it was but somebody went in for him in Washington, but the crowd started chanting like they were for McElroy. Brunell’s kids are up in the stands and they don’t know any better, they’re only 5 and 6 and they started cheering for the other guy with the crowd. I just remember him telling me that story.

I’ll be fine. I know how to play better and now it’s time to go prove it. I put myself in a tough spot here and it’s time to work your way out of it and play like I know I can and like I want to for the Brandon Moores, for the [Matt] Slausons, Nick Mangolds and the guys who have played quite a bit. On defense, for [Antonio] Cromartie, who is covering his butt off, and Kyle Wilson and Muhammad Wilkerson and all of those guys. You want to play well for those guys. That’s what we’ll do.

On his emotion after the game Sunday…

I’m just disappointed because I let a lot of people down. You let a lot of teammates down when you play like that. It never feels good, it just doesn’t, not the way I prepared, not the skillset I’ve been blessed to have. It just doesn’t add up to the way I’m playing. That’s disappointing to me. It’s no fun, but it happened. Now it’s time to bounce back.

On if he will be replaced on Sunday if he makes mistakes…

I don’t know. The point is to go in and win the game and not give the ball up.

On if he feels as if he is playing for his future…

I think we’re all playing for that. It’s highlighted by the quarterback position and there’s a lot of emphasis and a lot of attention on this position here. This kind of thing affects people’s lives and careers, not just "oh man, bummer." It’s not like that. This is serious for coaches, players, coordinators, everybody included, so I understand that.

On if there was any wakeup call this week…

We’ll see on Sunday. I think I’m poised and ready to play a good game. If you do that, then it’s all inside.

On people questioning his mental toughness…

That’s fine.

On the perception that he is playing because the team owes him money…

That’s the last thing on my mind. I don’t know, ask the coaches and management. That’s not my deal.

On if Coach Ryan has lost confidence in him…

I think he was more or less sending a message. It’s well received. I know, I got it.

On if he has ever dealt with something like this before…

I don’t think so. Maybe in, like, fifth-grade basketball.

On if he embraces the experience…

Yeah. Let’s go play.

On if he was shocked to hear he was coming out of the game…

A little, but that’s not the point. The point is you have to take care of the ball. I wasn’t doing that, so I didn’t get to play.

On why he wanted to hear it from Coach Ryan…

I don’t know. I was just making sure that was really going on.

On if there is a sense of relief that the next two games are on the road…

It’s kind of similar to a road game, you get booed.

On if thinks he will get booed at in Jacksonville…

True.

On if McElroy will get booed at Jacksonville…

Yeah, probably.

On if Tim Tebow will get booed at Jacksonville…

Definitely not Tebow.

On if he saw Braylon Edward’s tweet…

Yes.

On his reaction to the tweet…

I love Braylon. I loved playing with him. We have a lot of experience together. I think it was kind of an emotional thing and I saw his apology. I know he loved being here. He loved the guys in this locker room. He loved the people upstairs. It was more of "that’s my guy" and a sticking-up-for-me thing. Friendship-wise, sure, I appreciate it. Professionally, it’s not my position to say, but I feel for the guy. He really is sorry about it. I appreciate his support but he might have gone a little overboard, though.

On if other people feel the way Edwards does…

That’s the way things are. We’re where we're at. I can’t go back and change anything or do anything about any of that, any of the circumstances. It’s my job to play well and take care of the football and play well for the guys in this locker room and a head coach that believes in me. I know I can do that.

On if the team still has confidence in him…

For the guys who've been here, they know that in the toughest circumstances I play my best. You never want it to come to this point, but we’re here. At the same time, I’m sure guys read things, guys listen to outside opinion at times, so it’s not like I’m playing just for that. At the same time, I don’t want to let them down because that’s the worst feeling really on Sunday.

I’m disappointed in myself but I don’t want to let the head coach down. He doesn’t show up here at 4 o’clock in the morning and stay here and not see his family and do all the stuff he does for me to go out and throw the ball to the other team. That has to be disheartening. That’s the part that really bothers you. That’s why you want to fix it.

On if having new receivers impacts his performance…

I don’t know. I think these guys are playing their butt off and I know they’re studying hard. Things are just constantly improving. I’m getting a better feel for a lot of these guys. They’re young and they’re going to stick around so that’s good. Stephen [Hill] and Jeremy Kerley kind of highlight that group of young guys that I’ll hopefully be with for a long time. That process has to start somewhere and we’ve had the luxury and maybe the curse of older guys that are really good talent-wise but aren’t here for a long-term period. It’s great while they’re here. It’s tough to get that turnover and work with that, but at the same time, that’s just how things go and you have to make it work.

On his body language on the sideline after he was taken out…

I’m not going to do cartwheels and start smiling. I think the most important thing that I wanted to do was reciprocate what Greg does for me when I’m playing. That was chart plays and when Tony [Sparano] talked to Greg about the plays and we go over the pictures, I’m there giving him the plays that we called, I’m telling him exactly what I’ve seen. When we get down to the goal line and we’re going over thoughts, I’m giving my input, hey, here’s what I think, here’s what Greg thinks, here’s what Tony thinks — boom, here’s the call, and Greg goes out and scores. That’s my job if I’m not playing. That was the most important thing and winning was the most important thing, no matter how crappy it feels to come out and not be playing anymore. You have to win the game.

On if he is “broken”…

Not at all.

On the last two days…

I was just preparing to play.

On if he tried to stay away from calls from his family and friends…

A little bit. I talk to my immediate family, but other than that, people understand that I’m busy. They know that I have a lot going on. They’ve been cool about keeping their distance and knowing that I’m focused on something and turning this around.

On how this compares to playing at his toughest moments…

It’s a good experience and something to really learn from. It’s something to build on.

On if the pressure is different from playing in the playoffs…

My rookie year was pretty similar. Those last four games were kind of make-or-break and we lost that Atlanta game. I threw three picks right after I came back from being hurt for a week. That’s never a fun deal coming back that next week. Sunday can’t come fast enough. I can’t wait to get down to Jacksonville and play my best.

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