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SANCHEZ: The Challenge Is for All of Us

Posted Sep 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 San Francisco…

This is one of the toughest teams we’ll play all year, defensively, offensively, special teams-wise. They are, in all three phases one of the best teams. They’re sharp. They know their assignments. It’s clear they play with a purpose. They have to practice really well. It just shows on film that they’re rarely out of position and they play tough, they play physical. I have a lot of respect for both Harbaugh coaches [Jim and John], so we have one coming to town and we have to play our best.

On the Miami game…

I think the most important thing was getting the win. No matter how bad it looks, thank God there are no pictures on the scoreboard because it was a nasty one. At the same time, we were a resilient group. We outlasted them and we just kept playing, so we had our best football there towards the end of the game. I think our last 15 to 20 plays were our most efficient. That’s an encouraging stat and hopefully we can just pick up where we left off and eliminate some of those mistakes.

On if it makes a difference having replacement officials…

You have to play with what you have. Everybody has seen the Monday Night game, no doubt, but that’s the way things go. It really is. Nothing you can do about it, so we have to roll with the punches there, hopefully keep the game out of the officials’ hands, play a good, solid, clean football game and eliminate penalties and self-inflicted wounds.

On losing Darrelle Revis

Obviously in the locker room as a teammate, he’s one of our good friends. A lot of guys are really close with Darrelle. It’s not a good thing, but at the same time, as a team, we have to pick up the slack in all the areas, not just at corner. The challenge isn’t just for Kyle [Wilson], [Antonio] Cromartie and [Ellis] Lankster, it’s all of us. We all have to be that much better. Those teams that can persevere through tough injuries like this make it in the long run. We need to just tighten things up, get a little bit better and wish Darrelle a speedy recovery.

On Joe McKnight playing cornerback…

He can return kicks, punts, and offense and defense, so he’s one of those dynamic guys who can do it all. I think he’s still doing both-sides-of-the-ball stuff, so he has double study hall. He’s working hard.

On some of the offensive miscues against Miami…

A couple throws, I just missed. A couple balls, we have to hang onto. Between those two, we pick up half the misses and half the drops we have a mid-60s percentage and nobody is saying a word. That’s where we need to be and it’s on me to clean it up and get better. It’s an all-out team effort, but I have to improve.

On Alex Smith…

Talk about resiliency, that’s a guy who has seen it all. I think he had five different offenses his first five years. I was with the same offense for three years and now I’m going through that first transition season. I don’t know how he did that, but that’s a guy who has stayed positive and he looks like he has really learned the last few years, how to take care of the football, how to lead a team. When they're in those big-time situations, he really played well. He played like a veteran quarterback, who has seen it all. I have a lot of respect for him. I think he’s a hell of a player.

On improving the rushing attack…

Just keep pushing, we have to keep sledding and we’ll get some yards. We have to find some yards and make the right cuts make the right blocks. I have to put us in the right plays, but we have a good scheme and this is going to be a good test for us this week.

On if the team still has a positive outlook without Revis…

Absolutely, initially your heart goes out to the guy. He works his butt of. He plays hard for the team and you never want to see anyone go down, especially a guy like Revis. Once you get the emotional side out of it, you get back to playing. "OK, what do we have to do about it?" That’s pick up the slack, play harder, take care of the football, and our defense and offense especially have to pick each other up. We just have to keep improving and make up for that loss.

On having a few miscommunications on offense…

I think it’s part of a season. Those things come up, but they’re things that need to get cleaned up. That’s what practice is about. That’s what those reps in practices are for, so we’re taking advantage of those and I’m proud of the work guys are putting in.

On Coach Ryan saying he finishes games strong…

I think Coach Cav [Matt Cavanaugh] and Coach Sparano have done a great job of just reminding me, especially in the last game, especially as overtime started, there’s nothing we can do about missing a flat early, or missing a hitch-and-go to Chaz [Schilens] or missing a deep ball to Santonio [Holmes]. There’s nothing you can do about that at that point. You have to finish the game. So we had to get hot. We had to kind of rally the troops there and figure out a way to win, and we did that. That was the most important thing. I’m glad we did it, but now, looking back, there are a lot of things we need to improve.

On moving on from stretches of inconsistent play…

You try to. As a competitor, that stuff, naturally, it wants to stick to you. For the sake of the guys on the team and for the sake of trying to get a victory, you have to let that stuff go. This is the time to clean it up, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, during the week and hopefully you don’t put yourself in that situation again. When things do go wrong, when you don’t make the right read, when you miss a ball, there has to be that mental focus and toughness to move on to the next play.

On Coach Cavanaugh telling him not to worry about any statistics except wins…

You win as many games as you can.

On what statistics he looks at…

I don’t know if it’s necessarily my stats, but third-down percentage. Then I look at my numbers on third down. Where did I go wrong? How could I have improved? If it’s run game, then 33 rushes for 88 yards, or whatever we had last week. Did I put us in any plays we weren’t supposed to be in? Was there anything I’ve seen that I could have checked? How did I hurt that? How can I improve? That’s really where I look at my stats, but overall, comparing this guy to that guy, I just don’t really get into it. We have to win games and however you get the “W,” you have to get it.

On if he wanted to complete more passes…

Of course, you’d like to complete more balls. There were a few on third down. First and second down, we weren’t as efficient as we wanted to be and that put us in long third-down situations. When I go back and look at the numbers, it’s not just 50 percent. It’s "Where did I miss those balls?" I missed a few on 1st-and-10 where you need a completion. You come back second-and-10, it just sucks. It puts your coordinator in a bind. Those are the completions you want back. We’ll get a couple more catches out of these guys and that’s the way it goes.

On defenses often rolling their coverages towards Holmes…

Sometimes defenses do, sometimes they don’t. At times, they double Tone, but not all the time. He had an awesome day. It started with a great week of practice. He was focused and just played really well, like he does. So it was nice that all that happened in one week, and now you have to come back and do that again. It could be Tone again. It could be [Jeremy] Kerley, it could be Dustin [Keller]. All those guys have to have that potential.

On how Joe McKnight helps the team…

He’s playing a little defensive stuff. [Coach] Rex [Ryan] said we’re going to keep him at running back as well, so that’s nice, but he’s one of those guys that can really help that defensive group. As an athlete, he can help all of us, at receiver, running back, kick returner, punt returner, he can do it all. That’s great for him. I think he’s excited about it and you just have to play well.

On if the pass to Holmes in OT was his best throw of the game…

We repped those quite a bit, but he had a great release. You just have to get him the football. I thought there were some other, not necessarily throws, but just timing on some routes and some connections we had in that game that reminded me of a couple years ago. One route, he was supposed to run one way. If he would’ve done exactly what it said on paper, he was going to run right into somebody and I’m going to throw it right into the defender. He gave me his eyes, gave me his numbers and kind of showed me he was going to sit down, and just sat right in the zone and I was feeling the exact same thing.

Coach Sparano, he’s like, “This isn’t just free-wheeling zone. You guys don’t go out there, this isn’t street football, run to the blue Cadillac and turn right.” He’s like, “At the end of the day, you guys are making a play, and I appreciate that. Let’s not make a habit of it on every single play.” At times, it doesn’t happen exactly the way it’s drawn up on paper. To have that chemistry with Tone just feels good and that’s where we’re supposed to be, so we have to keep building on it.

On when that play was…

I think third, fourth quarter, I don’t remember.

On how much it helps to have the feeling of connecting well with Holmes…

It’s good for the two of us, it’s obviously beneficial to the team and it’s good for the other wide-outs because that’s where I want to be with all those guys. I feel great about [Jeremy] Kerley, can’t wait to get Dustin [Keller] back, Stephen [Hill]'s coming along. We have to get him to snatch that ball and come down with it, and we’ll just keep plugging away. It’s nice to see our guys working hard.

On Sparano’s comments about not making a habit of not following the plays…

There’s a fine line between making a play in a crunch-time situation and then just doing whatever you want. He doesn’t want it to go overboard and abuse that ability, so he just wanted to be clear about that. I think that’s a great coaching point, that you can’t get carried away doing that stuff because then you take away from what the entire offense is doing. So it was the right time and it worked out well.

On if Coach Sparano actually said “blue Cadillac”…

No, I made that up.

On Holmes making big plays in close games…

Tone’s won us a lot of games. It’s a team game, no doubt, but when somebody’s got to have a catch, when we need a big play, it’s been Tone, it was Braylon [Edwards] at times. The offensive line holds up for that extra second, you step up in the pocket and you make a throw down the field and Tone comes up with the ball, somehow.

On if the way the last play happened seemed familiar to him…

It just happened the way I’m used to, and the way Tone loves it to happen. He wants the ball, not just on every play, but especially in the crunch time, and that’s what you want out of your playmakers. It was just encouraging to see.

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