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SANCHEZ: Staying Positive Through Adversity

Posted Nov 8, 2012

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

On playing at Seattle…

They haven’t lost at home this year. They look tough on film on the road and especially at home, so it’s obviously a big challenge for us. But we’re excited about it and we’re excited to get the second half of the season started. This is a good challenge for us, right off the bat.

On Seattle’s defense…

Great edge pass rushers, they’re tough in the middle as well, great front seven, and then their back end, safeties and corners, probably the most physical in the league. Some of the toughest guys we’ll play. Great speed, good ball skills. They find the ball in the air. This is one of the best groups we’ll play all year. They’re a sound, disciplined team. That’s no surprise with their head coach. It’s going to be good for us.

On facing Coach Carroll…

I’ve never done it other than practice at USC so I know how competitive he is and how bad he wants to win every game. It has nothing to do with me, he just wants to win. So that’s always good, facing somebody like that, it always brings out the best, hopefully, in both sides. I’m thrilled about it. I’ve been watching him from afar and rooting for him, obviously, but maybe not this week.

On when Coach Carroll commented on him not being ready to enter the NFL…

Well, he was just honest about what he thought. He wasn’t going to just say something that I necessarily wanted to hear. He had a strong opinion and he felt like I should stay. I had my own opinion about it and I had to make a decision for myself and live it out to be the right decision for me. I have no regrets coming here and being part of this franchise and I also loved my time at USC. I took that as a compliment that a great coach, college and pro, wanted me to stay on his team.

On if he’s discussed his decision with Coach Carroll since then…

We’ve talked a little bit about, not necessarily belief in myself, but just talking back and forth. I know he watches all the guys he’s coached before, whether it’s [Troy] Polamalu or Carson [Palmer] or Rey Maualuga or Brian Cushing, any of those guys. He’s rooting for all of us, just like we’re rooting for him because we had just a blast playing together. [He’s] one of the most influential people in my life. I’ve learned so much from Coach Carroll and not just about football, but in life. He’s one of the best, there’s no doubt about it and I root for him all the time. It’s going to be fun to see him and I know they have something good going there and its really because of him.

On if he thought Coach Carroll’s comments would have an impact on potential teams looking to draft him…

Not too much. There were plenty of doubters and stuff so I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. It obviously got a lot more media coverage than I thought. He obviously just felt something, he said it, he said how he felt, and he had his own opinion about it just like millions of people, whether they thought I should stay or go, any of those draft experts. It’s just another opinion, and I respect it incredibly. But I also had to go with what I felt was right for me and he respected that too. It really took on a life of its own and it wasn’t really personal it was just his opinion on the matter.

On how he would assess his play…

I guess we’re, anybody on the team, we’re what our record shows. How close are we to 5-3 or 3-5 or 4-4 or wherever we could be, we’re right there. Looking at some of the film this past week and really where we’ve broken down in some of these games, leaving some points on the field and hurting ourselves. We’re 3-5 and that’s the way I look at myself and this team, but I know we can be better than that and this is the best time to show it, in the second half of the season, really make some strides and just keep staying positive and know how close we are to making a run at this thing and putting ourselves in a position to be in the postseason.

On problems in the red zone…

I think, especially when you get in the red zone, that’s where you have to be sharp and at our best and we haven’t been this year. I know we’ve done it in the past here and I think part of it, those turnovers, a tipped ball here, forcing the ball to Dustin [Keller] on one, a wrong route on another, three of those led to interceptions. So those things just have to get cleaned up and whatever we can do to fix it, we have to try and do it. We’ve identified some of those things, and that’s where our emphasis will be. We just have to keep playing smart and really take care of the ball and don’t hurt ourselves.

On what he needs to improve…

Just keep emphasizing taking care of the football and keep developing these wideouts and growing with these guys. And then the other thing is just, at the end of the day stay positive, no matter what. Just keep staying positive, keep pumping our guys up, keep believing in it and trust the system. And don’t, just because we’re 3-5, start to doubt your preparation, don’t start to doubt what gets you past 3-5 to start racking up wins. Just keep trusting in that because as soon as you lose faith in your prep that’s when it will really go. We just have to stay strong and fight through this.

On his visit to Toms River, N.J., to assist in the relief effort…

It was pretty incredible to see some of the effects of the hurricane. I got a chance to meet with some of the first responders and they were doing an aerial flyover and the folks at Liberty Helicopter were donating some of their choppers and their time to let some of the first responders fly over and do kind of an assessment. So talking with those guys, a couple of them had lost their homes, had family and friends lose their homes. But we went down, landed in Lakewood and did a flyover right by the Jersey shore by the boardwalk down there and Seaside Heights and Lavallette and all those places down there.

I mean, the roller-coaster is in the water. It just looks awful. They’re plowing the sand like they’re plowing snow. They push the sand, you see big tractors pushing the sand to the end of the block, and this sand is just built up taller than houses. They were flying over it and some of these guys were almost in tears, like, “Man, that’s our life. We can’t go back to that for another eight months.” And they’re going to get up the next morning and keep trying to fix it.

I just did my best to take it all in, give myself some perspective on life. To me, my life is 3-5 and try to fight through it and win games for the New York Jets, but there’s also so much more. Just stay positive with those guys and know that through times of adversity, this is a strong state and a strong tristate area that can really come together and help each other. It was inspiring and I just try to be positive for those guys. It was a great experience.

On Coach Carroll’s comments that he likes to beat people he knows more…

He used to say that in college.

On if he feels the same…

Of course you want to play against people you know are great competitors and people you really respect because that makes it fun, that makes it exciting and it always brings out the best in a competitor. But I remember him saying that when we’d lose coaches to other teams or whatever. Saying, “You know, we really have to get this one, remember he was sitting here with us in this team meeting and now we have to go kick his butt.” So that’s the way Coach Carroll is and that’s great. That rubs off on your players, that rubs off on the people around you. It’s great and I’m excited to play against him.

On if he wanted to prove to Coach Carroll that he made the right decision…

I felt it was the right decision no matter what, no matter what anybody said. When you make a decision like that, there’s no turning back. I think the most important thing I heard during that process is I have to live it out to be the right decision for me, no matter what. He wasn’t the only one saying don’t go. There were plenty of people, my parents included. They didn’t want to see me leave home and that’s just the way it is. So it didn’t really affect me.

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