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SANCHEZ: We’ll Get the Colts’ Best Shot

Posted Oct 10, 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 Indianapolis…

It’s really an energized group after a big win last week against Green Bay, so judging by that last game, they’re excited. They’re ready to go on the road again and come in here and bring their best. They’re rallying around their coach, who’s sick right now. That’s obviously their battle cry. We can totally understand that and how it compels a team to play really well. Not only are you playing harder, faster and stronger, but smarter. We’re obviously going to get their best shot and it’s our job to be ready for the challenge and play well.

On knowing Dustin Keller might play on Sunday…

It’s huge. That’s great news. He looked good in practice today. DK, Stephen [Hill], any of those guys we can get back is always a plus.

On the challenge of working with players he has had little playing time with…

There’s challenges working with anybody. The good thing about this situation is what it’s given a guy like Jeff [Cumberland], for example. Jeff Cumberland has had a chance to play a lot more than he’s used to, to play a little different role than he’s used to. It’s made him such a better player. Now, Dustin Keller coming back, just makes that tight end rhythm even more dynamic. I don’t really focus on the challenges, I just think it can only help us get better, help me get better. It takes work. It takes time, but that’s what this is all about. I’m fortunate enough to have guys that are willing to put in the work and really try and pick up the slack for Santonio [Holmes] being down.

On what he is doing as a leader to maintain consistency…

I’m keeping my routine the same. I’m not changing anything. The only thing I’m trying to do extra is if there’s anything I can do to help those wideouts, new guys like Jason Hill, comprehend everything. He’s learning this offense for the first time, so he’s in a time crunch. Anything we can talk about, any little tags I can help remind him with during the week. During the game, he played his butt off last week. He was getting signals from me. He was getting things changed during the game, so he’s in the heat of the moment trying to figure things out. I think if anything, I’m not changing much, I’m just trying to add to my routine. That’s trying to bring these guys along and get them ready to play for Sunday.

On how hard it is to not try to do too much…

I think that’s when you can get into some tough situations. You have to be smart. You have to still go through your reads and if guys aren’t open, they’re not open. That’s the way it works. We have to work to get open, figure out a way to get guys open, and when the backs are my only option when it’s time to run, tuck it and get us as many yards as possible and get first downs. That’s really where my head is at. The trap you can fall into is trying to do too much, and that’s what I’m trying to steer clear of.

On if he’s been frustrated the last four weeks…

I think more than anything we’re just trying to get a win. Winning changes a lot and losing is no fun. If you want to call it frustration or just flat out being upset that we haven’t won, then you can call it that too. We’re going to find a way to win and hopefully we can start it this week.

On Rex Ryan's belief in him...

He has faith in me. I believe that. I’m not worried about that, I’m really not. I’m getting ready to play against a good secondary, good linebacker group, two good edge rushers, and going out there trying to find completions and help this team win, doing anything I can do. I’m not worried about that.

On blocking out extra stuff...

I stick around the building. Put the blinders on and put some earplugs in and keep playing.

On if that’s easy to do…

Yeah. It’s part of the territory. It’s part of the way things go. When you’re winning it’s great. It’s easy. It’s fun. When you go through some tough times you have to find a way to dig yourself out and use the best shovel possible.

On Woody Johnson’s comments …

I think. I mean it’s going on right now. It’s possible. It’s going well for me. I feel good. If we start winning we’ll be all right. That’s all I’m concerned with and he’s in here working hard, that’s all you can ask.

On if there is any reason he thinks he should not be the starting quarterback for the next year…

No.

On if his completion percentage is an accurate description of how he has played…

I mean, it’s a stat. It’s obviously what’s going on. Are there reasons for it? You can go back and look at the film, yeah, there’s plenty, but we can’t go back and fix them. We just have to keep trying to fix it during the week and get better and go out and perform on Sunday and find a couple more completions. If that means not throwing it a couple of times, if that means getting it down to the backs sooner, whatever it takes, that’s what we’re looking for.

On Jon Gruden’s comments about “tuning out the Tebow music”…

It’s not like tuning out Tim as a teammate. He’s part of our team, he’s helping us win. As far as who should play, who should not play, I don’t listen to that. I just don’t. I’m not built like that.

On if it’s hard to avoid…

There’s a whole lot of other channels, and there’s a power button.

On if Tebow has helped the team win..

He’s getting some yards. He put us down in there tight the other day. There’s been some positive plays, too. I think expectations were so high coming in, that it’s like the guy is supposed to score a touchdown every time he touches the ball. That’s obviously unrealistic. We’re all trying to find ways to win and we’re all helping each other. We’re all additions to our team.

On if he advocates Tebow getting more playing time…

You’d have to ask Coach about that one, Coach Sparano.

On if he personally advocates Tebow getting more playing time…

It’s not my call.

On if it was his call if he would give Tebow more playing time…

I’m not going to deal in hypotheticals.

On the lack of experience in the offense…

I mean, JK [Jeremy Kerley]'s doing well, Jason [Hill]'s bouncing around a little bit, but he played well assignment-wise, he did well. I thought Chaz [Schilens] had a couple of good catches. I thought it’s been a good opportunity for Jeff to step up, so I’m confident in these guys that we have. It’s my job to get them the ball and I’ll keep doing that.

On other quarterbacks having more weapons…

Guys go down, that’s the way things go. I love our guys’ effort, I love their attitude. And the way they’re playing, they’re giving us a chance. We’re in the game in the fourth quarter, so it’s my job to put the ball on Jeff on the third down, out of his break, “on the body on the break,” like Sparano always says. If we do that, who knows, we’ll get a chance at a fourth down and we move the ball fairly well at times. We’ll get this running game going and it will help us.

On what he means by the fact that he tunes out everything else going on around him…

You just don’t think about it. It’s not in your control, it just doesn’t affect what I do. My routine stays the same. I try and encourage the guys around me, I’m trying to be the best quarterback I can be for this team, regardless of what anybody says.

On if he and Tebow can be on the field at the same time consistently…

We’ve done a little bit of that, but I think the same thing, I’ll defer to Coach Sparano. If that’s what he feels can help us win, then we’ll rally around that.

On if he’s up for another two years with Tebow…

Tim’s easy to be around.

On if Tebow being on the team creates a distraction for him…

I don’t think so, I really don’t. The guys in here, if anything, we joke about it. Who cares? It’s not even a thought. You guys talk about it much more than we do.

On what having Dustin Keller return means for the team…

It’s huge. Nice question. Huge. He’s a heck of a player, a great teammate and we could really use his help, so that’s going to be good for us.

On if there are routes they couldn’t run without Keller…

I mean, we’ve run some of our similar stuff. Just having Jeff and Dustin and Konrad [Reuland] ready to play, we’re able to do so much more. It will help the wide receivers, it will help the tight end group, it’s just a bonus for us.

On why he doesn’t throw more to the backs…

It’s something we’ll look at and keep trying to find completions. If those guys are open, it’s my job to get it to them. So just keep going through the reads and doing our best to complete the ball.

On if Coach Sparano stresses more of a vertical element…

You’d have to ask Coach, but it’s just kind of been the way things have gone. Things even out as the season goes on, so maybe that’s one of those things the numbers even out.

On how he handles the fact that history has proven that the competitiveness of human nature will only allow there to be one starting quarterback…

To tell you the truth, I really don’t entertain the thoughts. I just go into the game confident, I know I’m going to play, plan on playing well, and that’s really all I think about.

On if it has felt different with Tebow as his back-up quarterback compared to Mark Brunell…

No, not really. He’s a little faster, but Bru was getting older.

On if having Tebow around changes any elements…

Not really.

On if he expects to be the starter for the rest of the season…

Yes.

On why he expects to start the rest of the season…

I just don’t think any different. I came here to play and that’s what I’m doing. I don’t plan on anything going different.

On how he can improve his completion percentage…

I mean, try and complete the ball and do my best to put it on guys and expect them to be in the right spot, hold those guys accountable. Just do my best to find the open guys and that’s what I’m doing, so we’ll keep doing that.

On if looking at the statistics sheet is a source of frustration…

You don’t really look at it during the game. You know when you’re on a streak there of either completions or incompletions, so you try to keep going or fix it. During the game, I’m just thinking about the next down and the next play, and try not to dwell on anything too long, good or bad.

On if he thinks he’s better than his completion percentage…

Of course.

On if he thinks he’s unjustly criticized for his completion percentage…

I mean, it’s a stat.

On taking all the criticism for the offensive struggles…

I don’t necessarily think so. We just have to win games, that’s what I’m concerned with. We’ll get things rolling here. When you win games, you get a lot of praise and a lot of things you failed to do in a win get swept under the rug. But when things don’t go right and then you’re 14-of-30 or whatever we were, then there’s a problem. That comes with the territory, that’s the nature of this game and playing quarterback in this league. I can handle that. I’ll just keep improving and keep preparing like I do and hopefully get a win this week.

On if he has met Andrew Luck…

I think we met somewhere, I can’t remember. It must have been a camp. Oh, shoot.

On if he’s hosted him on any visits…

No, but everything you hear about the guy, he’s a heck of a player, a heck of a person so it’ll be good to see him and watch him play.

Preseason Live: New York Jets

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