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Sanchez's Thursday News Conference

Posted May 24, 2012

Updated 7:40 p.m. ET

Transcript of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez's news conference in front of his locker in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center following Thursday's midday OTA practice:

On how the team has been this week…

Great first week. I think the guys look good, they’re excited, everybody has a real hop in their step. From an offensive perspective I think things are going well. We’re right at the pace we should be, learning a lot but learning on the fly. And now this is our second time with the installation so I think that guys are getting more and more comfortable as the days move on. I’m thrilled about the young guys. Royce [Pollard] has played well, Chaz Schilens has played well, JK [Jeremy Kerley] has done a great job, the tight ends have looked good. It’s been fun these first couple days.

On his first impressions of rookie WR Stephen Hill

He’s a great player. He’s always got a smile. He’s one of those guys who loves coming in the building, who loves to learn, and he’s a big, strong, fast kid. He’s a sponge, which is exactly what you want from a young guy like that. He’s willing to do whatever coach Sanjay Lal asks him and that’s the kind of attitude we want. As of now, it’s a great pickup for us and we’re excited about him.

On working with coordinator Tony Sparano…

The same as I told you guys before. He doesn’t smile too often. If you catch one, you'd better save it [laughter]. They’re few and far between. Sometimes it’s a smile, it’s a smirk. You never know. But he’s tough on us, he’s fair, he’s an old-school guy and he wants things done right, and that’s exactly what we need. But he’s been great. He puts a lot of pressure on the coaches, he puts a lot of pressure on his players to do it right. That’s what we need. We need that extra emphasis on the little things.

On if the offseason feels more competitive with Tim Tebow here…

I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think you guys know that. Everybody in the building knows that, that I want to make it right for me and this team. Whether we have Matt Simms or [G.J.] Kinne or [Greg] McElroy or if it happens to be Tim Tebow behind me, that’s fine. It doesn’t matter. I’m playing hard and trying to get this thing right for all of us in here.

On the learning process with a new coordinator…

Well, there’s quite a bit of learning going on for all of the positions, especially at quarterback. And the new verbiage I think is the most important thing — being able to speak the language, speak it fluidly, fluently, with confidence, convey your confidence and your presence in the huddle, and be sharp with all your calls. So I think learning the language has been number one. But it’s been great. Coach Sparano’s installed, and Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh, he’s let Coach Cavanaugh talk to us a lot. So it’s been a good learning process so far and the learning’s not over.

On the differences in the offensive concepts from last year …

I don’t want to get into comparing the two coordinators. I have nothing but great memories from Coach Schottenheimer and our championship runs. It’s just something different and new and we’re adapting to it and things are going well.

On the increased media coverage at OTAs this year…

Maybe more at the OTAs and OTA time. But we’ve been to the playoffs around here. We know what it’s like to have different media outlets and you get a guy as popular as Tim, that’s just natural. So it’s good exposure for our team and for everybody so we’re good with it.

On how he felt during practice today…

I felt good. I felt like we could finish some plays a little better out on the perimeter. But I think those guys, especially the wideouts, Coach Sanjay is pushing them hard. And they’re thinking about a lot of things and today wasn’t our best throwing and catching, finishing plays. But I think that’s a good reminder that as much as we’re thinking about, as much as we have going on between our ears, we can’t forget the easy stuff, the throw and the catch. So it’ll be some great film to learn from.

There were some great routes and we just didn’t finish. I was just proud of the way JK came back, Stephen came back, all those guys. They didn’t hang their heads, they didn’t pout. They came right back and competed really hard and really well. It was a good day for us.

On if he’s preparing for more scrutiny with Tebow behind him…

His popularity draws a lot of that. But at the same time, I wouldn’t be in this position if I couldn’t handle it. I’m prepared for it.

On if he feels differently on the field with everyone watching him and Tebow…

I don’t really think about it while we’re playing. No offense to Tim, I’m not really thinking about Tim. I’m thinking about the play we have, the protection we have, what potential blitz we’re going to get, and making sure everybody’s lined up in the right spot. So my mind is racing a million miles an hour. I feel good, I feel like the system is coming along. And nothing's really changed that way. I’m focused on football.

On adjusting to Sparano’s offense…

It’s been good. I think Coach Sparano is very matter-of-fact, very to the point. There’s no gray area. He lets you know exactly what he expects. He lets you know the emphasis of the day. Whether it’s third down, second down, pressures, first-and-10, two-minute drill, he lets you know and then once we get on the field, that’s your test. Each week, each Sunday is a test for us. He’ll give you all the answers and once you get to Sunday you've got to have the test. That’s the way he sets up each practice and each installation. So I think it’s been great for the guys to understand and grasp.

On Rex being involved in the offense more…

I think at the rate we’re going, I think we’re all going to do well, I really do. I think he’s really tried to impress upon us the importance of the football and that was something that coming into this season, no matter who your coordinator is, I've got to take care of the football better than I did. So that’s an emphasis in every drill and every play. There’s some sort of emphasis on the football and taking care of it. Whether it’s your read, get to the back sooner, put this ball outside where the DB can’t get it, don’t even give him a chance to intercept it, I think that’s good for us.

On if he felt mixed messages this offseason with all of the Peyton Manning and Tebow talk…

I don’t think so. I knew that contract negotiations were going on. That didn’t really bother me. Then, to bring in Tim, I know he’s going to help us all over the field. It’s been a good acquisition for us and we’re going to keep rolling.

On how his contract negotiations would have been affected if the Jets had signed Manning…

I’m not going to get into hypothetical. He’s in Denver.

On how much Wildcat the offense will be run…

I defer to Coach Sparano. I don’t know. We’ll see.

On the comparisons of him to Eli Manning…

I just think about learning this offense and making sure we’re all on the same page, don’t look too far ahead. We just finished day three of OTAs, I'm just going to get my lift in, then get in the ice tub, go watch the film, and move on to this weekend.

On looking to Manning for inspiration because he is in the same city…

I look at that as kudos to him for doing a great job and thriving under that pressure. Looks where he’s at today, two Super Bowl rings and he’s on the top of the world and doing a great job and he deserves it. He’s put in a lot of hard work so you look at it and admire it. That’s a guy who really did a good job.

On Manning’s situation showing him that he can get to that point as well…

I’m just looking forward to this next year. I can’t wait to get back out on the field and start playing and use these plays that we are repping so much. But as far as looking ahead to the Super Bowl, we’re just working through OTAs and trying to do that as best we can.

On what experiences he can draw from over his last three seasons to help him overcome the scrutiny because of Tebow being here…

It’s a new experience, but like you said, I’ve got plenty to draw on. The highs and lows of a season. Understanding that this thing is a marathon, not a race. Don’t get caught up in who completed what ball and who didn’t. Don’t even let your mind go there. It’s not worth the time, it’s a waste. Just focus on the next play, have a short memory and keep playing. Be the leader this team needs.

On the installation of the new offense…

I know there’s still some things we haven’t installed so, you might want to talk to Coach about that. But, we’re just going through each OTA as a specific install for that day and an emphasis for that day, whether it’s a specific protection or situations that are going to come up in practice. Other than that, ask Coach Sparano.

On if he’s tired of answering questions about Tim Tebow…

Its only OTAs [smiling].

On if Coach Ryan’s new mindset is better than last year's mindset…

I don’t know if one’s better or one’s worse. I’m getting a good vibe. I’m not going to compare last year to this year. I just get a good vibe from what we’re doing now. And I know we're focused on each practice and each day, one day at a time, and it is so cliché, but it’s important to do that down to your footwork on each play, to your checks on each play, to recognizing your defense on each play, and whether it was a good play or a bad play, nobody should know either way by your demeanor and move on and get the next one and execute it well.

On if he feels less secure about his position…

Not at all. I feel great about it.

On taking time in the offseason to reflect on criticism from last season…

A lot of that time is kind of private and you get to reflect on your own. Some good lessons and the most important thing and tangible thing I can take from these last couple of years is take care of the football. Take care of the football and give our team a chance and move on from there. Take each lesson as you can. Each coverage I’ve seen, each blitz I’ve seen, just put that in your hip pocket and save it for when I need it again. The most important thing is just take care of the ball.

On his post-practice visit with Coach Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson…

It was good. We talked about some good stuff, some not so good stuff, some sentimental stuff and that’s it.

On what the meeting was about…

It was a private meeting.

On his body language being different and if it is a conscious decision…

I think I’m just excited to watch this film from today. That’s the most important thing. Other than that, I thought we had a heck of a day and it could have been better.

On feeling good about his practice…

We did a good job today. And the wideouts make you look good at times and you put the ball in the right spot occasionally and make them look good. But I thought we did good. Everybody’s demeanor today was competitive. It was good to see that vibe and talking to guys, guys were pushing and competing to the very last second with everything they have and then they pull up at the last second to protect the other guy on the other side of the ball. So that’s good. I think we have great competition going on offense and defense, it’s good for us.

On Stephen Hill…

He’s a heck of a player. We talked about him earlier in the interview, but this guy, you see a lot of potential. You a have a lot of potential and you have a coach like Coach Lal, he’ll mold that guy into the player we want and a player that’s going to really help us down the stretch.

On if he worked with other quarterbacks this offseason…

Chad [Pennington].

On if there are others he speaks with…

If I cross paths with those guys, sure, but I really did try to reach out to Chad knowing he had played for Coach Sparano, so I think that was the most pressing thing. Any of those picture issues, those cards will fall in place, that step will happen. I think the most important thing, and it sounds simple but is easier said than done, but just get through day three. Finish day three and have a good weekend, stay healthy, take care of your body and move on to next week and keep improving.

On Kerley’s role for this season…

He can do a lot of things for us and last year he was learning and he came on almost midseason, that’s when he really started playing. He caught a touchdown early against New England, but other than that he didn’t get a lot of touches. Then the San Diego game right before the bye he had a couple of great catches, clutch catches on third down and that kind of became his role. So I think it’s a chance for him to expand as a player and then you add guys like Stephen Hill and Chaz Schilens and Santonio [Holmes] is obviously ready to come back and have a great year, I think all those guys help each other and they can all expand their roles if they’re doing the right thing.

On Steve Weatherford criticizing him…

I haven’t heard all of it, but that’s fine.

On if Weatherford has tried to get in touch with him…

Yes, I know Steve really well. If I know Steve like I think I know Steve, there’s a good chance he was goofing around a little bit and it came off wrong, if not we’ll have a little chat [laughing].

On Weatherford saying he had spoken to him…

He did. We’re totally cool. He’s good. I know Steve pretty well.

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