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QBs: Whoever They Say Is Up Is Up

Posted Aug 19, 2013

Transcript of Mark Sanchez's and Geno Smith's news conferences near the quarterbacks' lockers following the Jets' Monday midday practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On how he feels about his performance in the quarterback competition…

I feel good about where I’m at. I think I put together a good camp and I’m only improving. So just keep putting my best foot forward, keep playing my best football, and leave it up to the coaches.

On watching the video of the interception he threw against Jacksonville…

Same thing as I thought right after the game. To put it either a little more in front of Kellen [Winslow] or wait for the next guy. So we’ll eliminate that mistake and move forward. I was proud that we moved the ball down the field really well. I thought we ran the ball really well all night and gave ourselves chances in the red zone.

On if he feels like this is Geno Smith’s week to get more in practice…

It’s a normal week for me. I’m just preparing like I always do. Whoever they say is up is up.

On if it still feels like training camp since the team is back home in Florham Park…

It’s a little different because you get to go home, but the schedule, they try to keep it as similar as they can. We’re here for the better part of the day and you start to transition into that season mode.

On if he feels added pressure of being in a competition…

Not really. Nothing different than every day. But I feel good.

On if this upcoming game is the final test in the quarterback competition…

I think we’re coming down the stretch here, so I’m sure a decision will be made here soon. Other than that, I don’t know.

On the skill position players stepping up during training camp…

I think they’ve done a great job, not just on the perimeter of catching the ball but blocking. And going back and looking at the film, those guys, Stephen [Hill], Clyde Gates, Braylon [Edwards], Ben Obomanu, bunch of guys in there sticking their hats in there, blocking safeties, blocking corners, giving us a chance to break some of those long runs. That’s encouraging. That shows that that’s a physical group and they’ve got to keep improving on that. But also, they’re going up and making plays for us. That’s big. It makes the quarterback look good and it helps your team move down the field. We’re proud of those skills positions. You guys have seen Jeff Cumberland really come into his own. Just got to keep them improving.

On what the team did well against Jacksonville…

I think we moved the ball down the field pretty well.

On what he did well against Jacksonville…

I mean, it’s the ultimate team sport but I feel good with my footwork, I feel good with my accuracy. I just feel comfortable in the system. That was a big step from last year and I think we are on the right track. Now we just have got to finalize some things, clean up some little things and we’ll be right on track.

On if he has done enough at this point to win the quarterback job…

I don’t know. You have to ask the coaches. I feel good about my performance and the camp I put together. It’s definitely the best camp I’ve had. Just keep improving and keep working.

On what he likes about coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s system…

I love the way you can mix up personnel, formations, use some base concepts and run them a million different ways with motions and shifts. I love that he gives us a lot of freedom at the line to go over protection and redirect it with [Nick] Mangold. I think the system in general just lends itself to quarterbacks who are trying to get the ball out quick, take your shots down field and get wideouts and skill position players in the right places to distort a defense, then you go make the read, make the throw and make them work for it.

On the importance of preparation with Mornhinweg’s system…

Sure. A lot of times Marty is just so quick with a call or a concept and then formation and play come later. If you can really master what those concepts are going to be run out of that particular week, it will just get you a little bit of ahead in the headset so you’re already thinking through the play before it’s over. It just gives you more time at the line and less time at the huddle

On if he is bothered by competing for the quarterback position…

I don’t care, I really don’t. I’ve competed my whole life and I’m ready to play.

On how clear the ability of the players is in preseason practices and games…

I mean, you have to just play your best football. But at the end of the day it’s their decision.

On if he is in a better place now than where he left off last season…

Oh, absolutely. I think as a team we have taken a step forward, as an offense for sure. For an offense to work well, it starts with the quarterback, so I feel like I’m playing all right and I've just got to keep improving and, you know, get ready to roll.

On if the productivity of the run game helps alleviate the pressure on him…

Well, a run game, anybody’s run game, is a quarterback’s best friend. So you run the ball well it opens up everything, your play action. So it gives us a chance to really use the whole playbook and not have to throw it every time, keep the defense off balance. Bilal [Powell] ran the heck out of the ball. Chris Ivory, Khalil Bell came in there and ran it really well, so that’s encouraging.

On if this year feels different since he is fighting for his job…

Like I said, maybe on the outside it might feel different to other people, but nothing’s changed. Play my best and studying like I always do, competing like I always do. Whether Geno is here or we draft someone else or we draft another position, another player, I’m still competing so it’s no big deal.

QB GENO SMITH

On how his ankle felt…

It felt pretty good. I’m moving a lot better today, so I felt really good out there in practice, was out there competing. It felt good.

On if coordinator Marty Mornhinweg gave him an indication of how the reps will be split during practice…

I think we’re pretty much going as normal as possible, splitting up the reps still and as the week goes along I think we’ll find out more.

On if he is approaching this week as if he will be starting on Saturday…

Yes sir, I always do. In this stage in the competition, it’s very important to do so. Whenever you get reps in the game, you have to maximize it and you want to prove that you belong as the starter of this team, so taking every single rep and just trying to get better.

On how anxious he is to play again…

Extremely anxious. Sitting on the sideline was probably one of the hardest things I had to endure since I’ve been here. I never expected being out for a game, let alone second game preseason, but to be out there this week is going to be big for me. I get another chance to go out there and prove myself.

On how Santonio Holmes looked running routes before Saturday's game…

I think he’s looking pretty good. I don’t know how fast he is expecting to play, but I think he looked pretty good, he was running pretty fast. He’s always had good hands, but he doesn’t look to be slowed down at all.

On how he reacts after an interception…

Well, the best thing to do is not show any emotion. You just have to move on from it, just wipe it out. It happens, every quarterback throws interceptions and it’s something that you just have to learn from, especially in practice. It’s something you really have to emphasize, but at the same time, you don’t want to let it affect your mental state, so just move on from it, have a short memory and get on to the next play.

On what he has to do to this week to win the starting job…

I just have to go out there and execute, do what I’m told, do what I’m coached to do, go out there, run the plays to the best of my ability, make sound reads, be good with my footwork, just prove to the coaches and teammates that hey, I belong here.

On if he thinks he is behind in the quarterback competition…

I can’t tell you that. I’m just focusing on myself. Like I said, I try and improve daily and the coaches do the evaluation.

On if everything rests on this coming game…

No, I don’t think so. Not one game. They’ve been evaluating me since I’ve been here and I don’t think one or two games will be able to tell you exactly where I am because it’s still early in my career. It’s about learning and I have a lot of learning to do, so every single rep that I get is going to be vital for my success in the future. Marty’s going to evaluate me and he has been doing so already every single day in practice and it’s only going to get better for me because I get to become more comfortable and just get more snaps in the game in live action and that helps out a lot.

On how the coaches could choose him with confidence if they cannot evaluate him in only one or two games…

Well, I wouldn’t say that. You’re putting words in my mouth. I’m saying they evaluate me on a daily basis, not just in one game, so that’s how I think they do that. It’s not only on the practice field, but it’s in the classroom, it’s the way I am around my peers, it’s everything as a whole in order to be a leader and to be a quarterback.

On if he needs a certain amount of playing time to make the competition fair…

We’ll find out later on in the week, but whatever I’m asked to do is what I’ll do and every single chance that I get, I’ll go out there and try and earn this job.

On his mindset since Coach Ryan’s criticism last week…

It’s always been the same. Bad days happen and I don’t like to go back in the past. I would like to say that was one of my worst days. But hey, you’ve got to move on from it and I have a short memory so I won’t let it affect me in any type of way. I’m just going to learn from it. I have lots of room to grow and I’m going to continue to get better.

On how he knew his ankle was better today…

Everything. It felt a lot better. I was able to move a lot more fluidly, wasn’t thinking about it as much. The pain has gone down tremendously so I’m able to do a lot of things I couldn’t do last week.

On what percentage he is healthwise…

I wouldn’t put a percentage on it but I feel pretty good.

On if he could play in a game tomorrow…

Yes, sir.

On if he would start that game…

We’ll see.

On if he thinks it is important to get an extended opportunity to play with the starters…

Do I think it’s important? I try to make the best of every single opportunity I get. I’ve been working with the ones. I had an extended amount of time with those guys and I feel comfortable with the ones and the twos. It’s about all of us coming together as an offense and I think that’s something we’re doing very well at this point. Everyone’s doing their jobs and everyone’s getting better.

On if he thinks he is getting a fair shot if he doesn’t get an extended opportunity on Saturday…

Well, we can’t speak hypothetically here. Saturday hasn’t come yet. We’re just focusing on day-by-day.

On if he thinks he has to hit a home run on Saturday to win the starting job…

I don’t know. That’s for the coaches to evaluate and they’ve done that throughout training camp, OTAs, minicamp and it’s still an ongoing process. Like I said, I don’t think one game completely defines who I am but it is important to go out there and get a good showing.

On how he avoids putting too much pressure on himself…

I never put pressure on myself. It’s football. It’s the game I love to do. I just go out there and play football and have fun. I think if you put your mind in other places it can distract you and that’s something that I refuse to do.

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