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Sanchez, Offense Search for Turnover Fix

Posted Nov 29, 2012

One of the main topics during Rex Ryan’s news conference Wednesday afternoon was trying to asses the recent play from his quarterback, Mark Sanchez.

While Sanchez has struggled in this, his fourth Jets season, Ryan doesn’t believe his QB deserves all the fault.

“To put that blame on one person, I don’t think that that’s appropriate,” Ryan said. “I think if anything, it’s more directed at me than it is anybody else. I have to fix that myself. How am I as a coach? I have to get better and get this team to where we don’t turn the ball over. So I focus on those areas.

"But as a team, we have to get better. You don’t just put that on one individual. If that was the answer, that it’s just one guy, then that’s easy. But it’s not. We have to protect the football as a team.”

This season, Sanchez has thrown for 2,339 yards with 12 TDs. He also has thrown 10 INTs and lost five fumbles, and what’s seemed to haunt him most in 2012 is turnovers in or approaching the red zone. One occurred against Seattle back on Nov. 11 and another last week against the Patriots.

“A couple of the turnovers ended up being catastrophic because they end up getting points off of it,” No. 6 said. “I’m just trying to do the right thing and I run right into Brandon Moore. Some of that, sometimes, that just happens. There’s no excuse for it. Try not to let it happen again.

"The other one I thought [Steve] Gregory made a good play and baited me into it and caught me in an interception in the red zone there. Then before that, going back to Seattle, just taking care of the ball down on the goal line was one of the turnovers.”

Sanchez said Ryan, coordinator Tony Sparano and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh have each tried to help him correct his mistakes. But in the end, he knows it comes down to execution on Sundays.

“They know that I’m working my butt off and trying to eliminate turnovers, and sometimes they happen,” Sanchez said. “It’s my job to try and fix that and completely eliminate them. Especially in these next five games, it’s going to be critical.”  

Possibly one reason the turnover numbers are higher this season is because of the unfamiliarity with his receivers. The Jets’ top wideout, Santonio Holmes, suffered a season-ending foot injury against San Francisco back in Week 4. Dustin Keller, the No. 1 tight end, missed several games early on with a hamstring injury. Stephen Hill, the Green & White’s second-round draft selection, also missed time.

And of course, Plaxico Burress, who teamed up with Sanchez as a strong red zone threat last season, didn't return.

“It’s nothing to dwell on or make an excuse about,” Sanchez said. “That’s just the way things have gone this year and it’s my job to get whoever’s in those wide receivers spots ready to play and get us comfortable as I can with them each week. There’s no time to be upset about it or anything like that. Just keep moving and keep pushing forward and keep playing.”

With five games remaining on the schedule, time will soon determine whether the turnovers continue or come to an end. From Sanchez’s perspective, he admits they have to stop. Against St. Louis, there were no turnovers and the result was a 14-point Jets road win. No turnovers Sunday against the Cardinals and a positive outcome would certainly be possible once again.

“Being the quarterback of a team, it’s just there’s always more pressure and attention at that position,” Sanchez said. “I don’t treat it different than anything else. We just need to win some games here. We’ve done it in the past, so hopefully we’ll do it again.”

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