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SANCHEZ: Week 1's Over and Done

Posted Sep 12, 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 how he plans to keep the momentum heading into Pittsburgh…

Well, the most important thing is executing. It started today in practice. I thought we had great tempo in practice, working with the crowd noise, getting ready to play in a tough environment. We’re going to have to be even sharper than last week and improve upon some of the mistakes we had, take care of the football and play fast and smart. We’re in for a big challenge.

On if Pittsburgh’s defense will be a challenge…

It’s a sound group, it’s a veteran group, like you said. These guys can pattern-read, they read the quarterback's eyes, they are a fast-flow defense and an aggressive front seven and great on the back end as well. It’s going to be one of our toughest challenges all year. We’re going to have to hold up well up front. It’s on me to make quick decisions, deliver the ball accurately to the right guy and we have to get open with the wideouts and play well in the run game. It’s going to take a complete effort and our best effort.

On how much he can build on Week 1…

It’s nice to start that way, but after Monday night, Week 1's over and done. Now it’s moving on to a different team, a different plan, a different kind of attack, getting ready to face a tough defense.

On how tough the environment will be Sunday and if it’s fun for him…

It’s always a challenge. As a competitor, you get excited about ones like this. Road games, it’s a good test for our team early in the season, against a veteran group, against tough extremes. So this is going to be a fun one.

On Jerricho Cotchery…

He’s a guy who I always thought was the ultimate pro and I learned a lot from him while he was here, really looked up to him as a competitor, as a teammate, so you always wish him the best. It will be fun to see J-Co again.

On Darrelle Revis being cleared to play Sunday…

That’s always great news, anytime Reeve is on the field. He poses a threat for the other team, so that’s good news in our favor.

On Stephen Hill

He’s going to have to play even better than last week. I know he had some big highlights, but It’s going to be on him to block in the secondary. He has to run all his routes full speed and keep working hard. He’s shown a little bit of success, now we want to see how he reacts to it and make sure he’s still the same guy after a great game.

On the perception of the team not matching reality…

I mean, from the outside, guys really haven’t paid attention to much. It’s been the best probably since I’ve been here, where guys just put on the blinders and ignore it. It’s something to be proud of and something we have to sustain. It can’t just be a one week thing and feel like "Hey, we arrived." We still have a long way to go, so hopefully we can keep that focus.

On if the players take the perception of the team personally…

I think a lot of guys, this is their livelihood, this is something they take seriously, they take a lot of pride in it. If somebody doubts you or somebody has something negative to say about it, you don’t want to hear that, guys don’t want to play into that, feed into that. The only way to avoid something like that is to be successful and play well and win. Now you have to do it on a regular basis, so that’s a challenge each week. It’s an ongoing thing, this thing’s a marathon, so we have a lot of work to do.

On what kind of figure Tim Tebow is to him…

He’s a great friend of mine, he’s an awesome teammate, he’s working very hard. That Wildcat stuff is always going to help us. People are doubting right now, whatever it amounted to, however many yards. Sometimes it’s just a couple yards here and there, and sometimes its big runs. We know we have some big plays left in the Wildcat and he’s been great for us.

On how Tebow has helped him in preparing for the season…

Rex puts a big emphasis on pushing each other. It’s all of us pushing each other, holding each other accountable. We’re all involved in that and we all push each other to be better.

On how tough it was to watch the AFC Championship game film in preparation for Sunday…

Well, it’s been so long now that the losses are always the ones that stick out the most, especially when your that close to the Super Bowl. It just shows that you have to play a complete game against those guys, you have to take care of the football, there’s no time to waste in a big game like this. We had a victory there in the regular season, so we’ve shown we can win there. It does take a lot of work, it really does take a perfect game against these guys.

On the keys to being successful against Pittsburgh…

Taking care of the football, being accurate, a great plan, which I think we’re still making right now. It took a great week of practice both times. We have to come out and play well, really play sharp, can’t allow any penalties on the road and really handle the crowd noise.

On how it feels to get the 15- and 20-yard plays in…

They just help, they’re a momentum swing. Getting a big chunk like that, you see the guys up front, it’s just a big relief for them. It’s like, “Nice okay, let’s keep rolling, let’s get another one.” It gives you confidence. In order to do that we have to be sound in protection, that’s the quarterback, the running back, receivers, everybody knowing exactly what to do, when their hot and stuff. Some days you get a bunch of them, some days it’s a couple yards here, a couple yards there.

On if he was surprised when the Jets waived Patrick Turner…

A little surprised, but again, that’s a personnel thing and it’s up to Coach Ryan and Mike T. [Tannenbaum].

On if the Pittsburgh’s defense is a good measuring stick for where he wants to be…

Each week’s just another measuring stick for each team and we have to play well week-in and week-out. It’s not if you beat Pittsburgh or lose to Pittsburgh, the seasons not over either way. We plan on playing well, we plan on being efficient, after that, we’ll see where we’re at.

On what he thought after watching the film from Sunday…

We played well as a group and guys made plays. Things looked good for the most part, but there’s a lot of improvement to make. We’re well moved on from last week and ready to play a tough Pittsburgh team.

On if he thinks Pittsburgh will prepare differently due to Tebow’s performance against them last season…

That is a good question, I have no idea. Get them on the conference call. [laughter] I’m not being rude I promise, I just don’t know.

On Pittsburgh’s Head Coach Tomlin saying Tebow’s performance last week was just the tip of the iceberg…

That’s what I said too.

On if Coach Tomlin stole his line…

He stole my line.

On if that’s a fair statement…

We’ll see. Another good game plan.

On if he allows himself to celebrate the win…

It was great on Sunday and Monday, but we’re well beyond that.

On if it was a relief to get the win on Sunday…

It was a good start, I admitted that after the game, no question. That’s exactly what we wanted, a win, and how we got it was nice, but a long way to go man, a long way to go.

On what he learned about the team after the win on Sunday…

I didn’t know exactly what would happen. I knew we had an explosive team, I knew we could run the football well, I knew I was playing better than I have the past three years and that if we take care of the football we can play well, nothing different. I didn’t necessarily expect it to go exactly the way it went, we’re capable of having games like that, but it takes great preparation and hard work.

On if he’s playing the best he ever has…

I mean, it’s just one game. I’ve had a better camp than I’ve had, probably a better preseason, other than not throwing any touchdowns. It’s hard to say, but a long way to go.

On how he thinks Tebow has handled transitioning to a new team and if he were in his shoes, would he handle it as well…

I think he’s handled everything well. He’s really come in and fit in with our team. He’s tried to be a team guy all the way. He understands that he’s going to get opportunities to touch the football and when he does, he wants to make the most of them. And that’s great, that’s the way all of us have to play. If I were in his shoes, I don’t know how I’d handle some of the stuff he goes through, but it’s fun to talk about in the quarterback room.

On how it felt to not be sacked on Sunday…

It was a great day up front. We have 15 more.

On Coach Ryan’s comments that when he has protection he’s as good as anybody passing…

When you say something like that, I think obviously, Rex, he’s complimenting the offensive line. The thing that can’t get lost in there is when they block, I’ll play well. It’s not just them. Protection is the quarterback knowing the protection, the defense, the potential blitz, guys knowing what hot routes they have, when to run them, the running backs knowing which linebackers their blocking, if they have to go backside and take a safety. It’s not just on those five, they’re the most important part, but it’s all of us together. It’s the ultimate team deal and when its 10-of-11, it doesn’t work.

On how much coordinator Tony Sparano emphasizes working together…

He’s all about balancing us, playing well in all phases, but specifically on offense. We have to run the ball out and set up all of the play action stuff. We have to be able to have drop back passes, we have to be able to take shots and the Wildcat package is coming along strong. It has to be a little bit of everything and it has to be balanced and we have to play well.

On blocking when he was split out wide…

Well, I was on the ground again so it didn’t turn out great.

On if any of his teammates joked with him about his blocking…

No, because there was another one, but I got him back a little. Not necessarily on the ground but ...

On how he handles knowing the position of QB is highly competitive…

I don’t really pay attention to it anyway. Just like Greg [McElroy] wants to play, just like [Mark] Brunell or Kevin O’Connell or Kellen Clemens wanted to play, it’s a unique position that way. You have a couple guards, a couple tackles, a bunch of receivers, a couple tight ends, so other people rotate and we do our fair share of that too. It’s easy to do with Tim because he really has been a good guy. We have great conversations about stuff on a human level, when nobody’s around, that’s the best time to hang with the guy, is when he’s out of the limelight and gets to just relax and both of us kind of get to have a good time and goof around. He’s been great.

On if his comfort level grows during a game when he gets the protection he needs...

That’s one of the toughest things as a quarterback, just to hang in there, even if you get hit early and trust it because the next time, when you shy away or try to speed up, then you start missing, you start guessing. When its good, keep it rolling. When it’s not so good, it’s going to get better shortly, so that’s the way you have to think and not really worry about it.

On if his comfort level changes when things are going good during a game…

Any quarterback is just like a shooter. You see a guy like Kobe Bryant or Ray Allen or some really good shooter, they get hot. You hit five or six three-pointers in a row, it’s only natural to feel good. Somebody sets a good pick for you, boom, you’re stroking your shot you feel great. Yeah, if we hit a bunch of big plays in a row, there’s no doubt, you just feel like you’re dealing out there, that’s nice. When you have an offensive line that plays well like that, that will get you in a good comfort zone.

On the specific traits of the Pittsburgh defense that causes him most concern...

They’re disciplined, they’re fast, they’re aggressive, when they take their chances they go 100 miles per hour, great disguises. And probably most of all, I’m sure what he preaches to the D-guys is they're tough. They’re just tough people, on and off the field, I’m sure. Those guys are monsters, so we have to play well.
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