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SANCHEZ: Plenty for All of Us to Learn

Posted Dec 26, 2012

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

On his thoughts on going into the last game of the season…

I think it’s a similar situation to last week, so that’s the way I’m approaching it. I’ll approach it ready to play, but first and foremost, we’re going to support Greg [McElroy], get him ready to play. And then just always be at the ready, just like last week.

On if Tim Tebow displayed any frustration with the quarterback situation…

I don’t know. I’m not going to really go into other guys feelings about stuff like that. We have one goal this week, that’s to try and win this last game. Could be the last time this team of 53 is together so we want to go out on a high note and be excited about the game and that’s really where our focus is at.

On if it’s out of character for Tebow to be frustrated…

I’m not going to speak on that stuff. Like I said, we’re ready for Buffalo and that’s our goal this week, that’s all we’re talking about.

On if playing for everyone in the organization is enough motivation for Sunday…

Of course. You do it for the guys in this locker room, you do it for the coaches who have worked hard all year. Guys understand it isn’t what we anticipated, it’s not what we prepared for, but at the same time this is still your job, this is what we do for a living and we take a lot of pride in it. When things don’t go well, I think the easiest thing to do would be to pack it in and that’s not the way I’m going to approach it this week and that’s not the way Rex wants us to approach it. He wants us to go out on a high note, get a win and move on, and we’ll see what happens after that.

On if he’s allowed himself to think ahead…

No. I’m going to cut you off right there.

On other players that have gone through rough times and have come back…

I’m confident in that way. Sorry for cutting you off, I thought we were going somewhere else. No, you guys know me, I’m positive, I’m excited, if I get a chance to play, great. But the next time I get a chance to play, I’ve got to do well and I know I can do that. I’ve done it in tougher circumstances than this so I’m confident I can do it. Whenever that is, I’ll be ready.

On particular things he needs to improve on…

I think we’ll wait until the offseason and I get a chance to really look at the film and reflect on this season. I don’t think now is the appropriate time, out of respect for the team and out of respect for Greg as he prepares for this game. It’s not about me, it’s about getting him ready to play and me being ready to play if I’m needed. And just staying positive, keeping guys motivated, so that’s where my focus is at.

On if he can use his experience against Buffalo in Week 1 to help McElroy prepare for Sunday…

We looked at the film quite a bit but at the same time they’re a different team, we’re a different team. It’s been a long journey from Week 1 to where we’re at now, so who knows? They could do the same exact stuff or they could say, “Hey, who cares, it’s the last game, let’s show them something they’ve never seen.” It could be that, too. So we need to be prepared for all that and be prepared to handle it, and I think we will. I know the coaches are excited about it. Coach Sparano, Coach Cav[anaugh] are really getting our group as the quarterback group excited to play and we’ll be ready.

On it not being hard for him to take the role of assisting McElroy…

Well, I’m trying to be a pro. Trust me, this isn’t ideal.

On him not giving up…

No, never. You have to do the right thing and I think this is the right thing to do.

On if he lets himself think of what could happen during the offseason…

I thought you weren’t going to ask me that. [laughter]

On if he’s allowed himself to think about his future…

"I don’t want to ask you about the future, but …" [laughter] No, I haven’t.

On his expectations for the season…

Well, obviously a lot more successful than we have been, but we’re not there. It didn’t pan out the way we expected and we’ll assess those things come season's end and improve and get better and try and figure out a way to fix it.

On if he thinks the offense had everything it needed to make the playoffs…

I think it takes a whole season to figure that out. At the beginning of the year, everybody has high expectations, or at least they should, all 32 teams. Everybody thinks, “Yeah, this is the year.” So when it doesn’t happen, unfortunately, it’s a bummer, but you move on and improve and see what happens.

On if the team is close to where it wanted to be…

There are a million variables that having been one way or the other they could’ve changed things. But that’s all hypothetical, that’s all what-if. We’re not going waste time worrying about that, we’re going to prepare for the second-go-around with Buffalo and try and win a game.

On what he’s learned this season…

Plenty of things about ball security, about different defenses we’ve faced, about different coordinators. It’s been a great learning experience about interaction with guys on the team, going through coaching changes, things like that. But great lessons to learn from and just to be ready when I get my next shot and we’ll see what happens. Plenty for all of us to learn. You have to look at it that way or else you’ll just keep beating yourself up and you won’t improve from it, so that’s really where we’re at.

On not making the playoffs after making them in past years…

It’s the nature of this business and unfortunately, or fortunately, however you look at it, those first two years are not normal. This is the majority of the NFL every year is not making the playoffs, teams that don’t make it, that’s real. And there’s hundreds and hundreds of guys who’ve gone through this and been in this position, not the position we’re in the first two years so that was pretty unorthodox, but none the less a great experience, just like this will be to learn from and just stay positive and get through it.

On if people had told him to cherish his time in the playoffs…

Of course. You just look at them with that sad, crazy eye, like, "What are you talking about? We’re going to be a playoff team every year" and "It doesn’t have to be like that" and "Not us." So it’s a good lesson and we’ll learn from it and grow and get better.

On how close he felt to the Super Bowl…

I mean, a game away. You think, "We’ll just keep everybody and do it again all over again." But it just doesn’t work like that. So you have to start from square one, 0-0, and earn the right to be there and we haven’t done that this year.

On if he feels very far away from that opportunity…

I don’t know. The crazy thing about it is, one win here, one win there and it really changes perception, it changes guys’ spirits, it changes morale and you can take off. The teams that started hot, hit a bump in the road and then what? Now they’re fighting for a playoff spot or not in the playoffs, or it started slow and built over time and now they’re a juggernaut. Those kinds of things happen, so who’s to say?

On if there was one particular game that was a turning point…

That turning point? Not yet, it’s still pretty early for that. Like I said, we’re doing this year-end reflection thing. I feel like we’re on the "Top 10 Countdowns of the Season" kind of thing. But we’re getting ready for this Buffalo game and trying to end on a positive note and move on.

On if it’s hard to keep the team motivated when they aren’t playing for the playoffs…

It’s about pride and how much you value your job in this position and getting the chance to play on Sunday and that’s all you ever ask for. We’re fortunate to be in some of the places we’ve been and we’re fortunate to be able to learn from some of the tough places we’ve been, and now you have to go out and be a pro and finish the right way, hopefully finish strong. I know we have the ability to do that and I hope guys make that decision to do that. To be positive, to go out, try and win a game, and get on with it.
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