QBs: Feeling More Comfortable with the Offense

Transcript of Mark Sanchez's and Geno Smith's news conferences following Thursday's morning OTA practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

QB MARK SANCHEZ

On how things have gone at OTAs since last Wednesday…

I think camp as a whole has been probably one of my best offseasons. I feel comfortable with the system. I feel like we're really starting to understand things as an offense and slow things down a little bit as we play. But you've got to remember that its one practice, it's three passes and Rex [Ryan] alluded to it that we've got to take care of the ball and I agree. We do have to take care of the ball.

But I think those guys have the luxury of seeing that entire body of work this offseason and know I'm working towards good things. I feel the best I've felt in a while and I feel like I'm putting together one of my best offseasons and just got to keep rolling. You have a tough day, you have a tough pass, a tough couple of practices, whatever it is, you've got to roll through it.

On if Coach Ryan spoke with him directly about last week's turnovers…

I think it's just one of those things that not only him, but Marty [Mornhinweg] talks about all the time, our quarterbacks coach [David Lee] talks about all the time, but we need to just take care of the ball. Whether it's running with the ball, you're in the pocket, you get sacked, whatever, just cover it up and take care of it. Make the right decision down the field. If you have to throw it away, throw it away. I think that day, it just built up and I think it was one team period where it was bang, bang, bang and sometimes those things happen and you have to figure out a way to end it and that's it.

On his discussions with Santonio Holmes during practice…

Well, he's picking up the system. He can't wait to get back on the field and we can't wait to get him out there. He's one of those guys who really thinks the game and always wants to know what I'm thinking, what I was looking at. If there's anything I see and I have a question for him or he has a question for me, it's always been that kind of relationship. We have a pretty easy-flowing conversation. I can't tell you exactly, I'm trying to remember myself, but it could've been an alignment, why I went on a certain cadence, the split of a receiver, why I threw it to a certain spot. He's engaged and involved and it's nice that he's like that and instead of just sitting off to the side and not really caring. He's into it and he wants to be a part of it.

On how he has done in OTAs compared to the other quarterbacks…

That's for the coaches decide. I'm really focused on the defense I'm playing against. I'm really focused on getting guys in the right alignment, using your vision for making plays downfield. Anything I can do to help Geno [Smith] with having my experience against Rex's defense, whether it's a specific look, this or that, we share things back and forth. I think he's working hard and that's all I know. He's been a great competitor.

On how he feels Smith has performed in practice…

I think he's done well. He works hard. He's done his best to get completions like we all are. We know that we are playing against one of the best defensive units year in and year out so we take that into account, but that can't be an excuse for us.

On if it is hard to deal with when he has a bad practice and it becomes a big story…

It's just kind of the way it goes. It's just like the opposite of when you come to New York and win you're first two seasons, you're in the playoffs and things like that. I mean, people tell you maybe you are a little better than you are. Maybe things go the other way as well. That balance, I just try to stand in the middle and as far as a headband or one bad practice, that doesn't matter. I'm stronger than that. I would hope or I wouldn't be here. I can handle that. It's no big deal.

On Stephen Hill's return to practice…

Yeah, he's been practicing a little bit. Doing a lot of individual drills, but he's still getting his feet under him. Getting his legs back. Getting back in the swing of things. He's been going crazy in that weight room and the training room. He's sick and tired of being in there and ready to get out on the field. We're excited to get him back and we can use him.

On what he saw from Stephen Hill in practice today…

That he's just shaking off the rust a little bit, but he's working his butt off. Anytime he gets with Coach Sanjay [Lal] on all those individual drills, he's really starting to get more and more comfortable. I think he's done a great job learning the system. He feels comfortable that way. He's not one of the guys that wants to come back and ask questions. "What's the formation? Timeout, say that again." He's ready to roll and that's for a guy who didn't do much in the offseason stuff at the beginning. He jumped right in. We plugged him right in. He's doing great.

On how if it is difficult practicing without the regular starters and going against Coach Ryan's defense…

At times it turns into a throwaway drill [laughter]. That's the way it goes. Marty's good about reminding us of that. That if that's what it turns into you compete to win and if winning is taking a sack, sometimes that means, you take a sack. If that means you have to throw the ball away and somebody's not looking and not ready for that pressure, you've got to throw the ball to where you're supposed to go. If he's not looking, he's not ready, then move onto the next one. Push forward and get the ball out. Throw or go.

You just go through those reps and usually during the season it's the opposite. Most of the plays work. Things happen the right way. Things happen on time. And then you get those two, three to five max plays where all hell kind of breaks loose and now it's time to make a really good decision, so we are getting a lot of practice at those.

On the time needed to build team chemistry…

That's part of it. It's a limited deal with this schedule. It gives guys a good break but it also puts the responsibility on players to come back in shape so we're not wasting time with guys having injuries and things like that. This is the time where guys need to be healthy; we need to get this timing down. Same thing with camp in August. These two real periods of time are the most important blocks of the offseason. We got to get guys healthy; we have to get those receivers back on the field. We need some legs out there. The guys that are filling in are doing a great job.

On why he feels this is his best offseason yet…

I just feel comfortable. Marty said it the other day, it's something I would never say, but he's already went out there and said it, but accuracy wise, I just feel great. I think going back and looking at practices, completion percentage has been high. Being able to check the ball down, identify some of Rex's pressures that in the past might have caused me some trouble.

Just having that experience against these guys, really working with Mangold to get some calls out, that's been great. Feeling comfortable enough to mix up the cadence this early and learning a new offense. I remember I felt like last year we were learning so much and trying so hard, it just felt like we went on one forever. We went on one and on one and on one. By the end of the time the defense was like "all right," they're just licking their chops ready to roll and teeing off. I think our guys feel good and I personally feel like we're doing really well.

On what his completion percentage is…

I mean I don't know the exact number. Ask Marty, he's got all the stats. It's good. It's where we want it to be.

On Coach Mornhinweg's system…

I think it's similar to what we tried to do in college. It's similar, that West Coast system. I just feel that it suits my abilities. You know you don't have to be someone that runs a 4.5 type deal, you can get back there, get rid of the ball whether it's a five plan or a seven and quick hitch, that things out. You know there are places to go with the football. I think Marty does an incredible job coaching things up, helping you visualize the play, understanding your read against multiple coverages. His experiences have allowed him to do that. So it really is encouraging.

On if he will be surprised if he isn't the starter on Opening Day…

I don't really think like that. I'm planning on playing, I'm planning on starting. I don't know. I'll let you know.

On how he would feel if he does not start based on how he feels right now…

I don't plan on that happening.

On examples of why Coach Mornhinweg's and skill sets work so well together…

Being able to move the pocket a little bit and change the launch point of the quarterback. I think that is important, just as a changeup. Multiple sets, multiple formations. A ton of the same concepts that really have a lot of the same reads. You start combining those things together, adding motions, adding shifts. That's really where I feel the most comfortable. You get through those first couple installs and everything else you really add to those installs. You tweak something here, something there. You install that first, that second red zone install and you then you start to tweak things based on the teams you play and based on your personnel. I just feel like Marty does a heck of a job relaying information, communicating to different players who might learn differently. And that goes for us quarterbacks as well. Some guys want to rep it on the field, some guys want to do it on a walkthrough, some guys want to see it on the board and some guys need to see it in a film of another team doing it or something. He's had all of that available. You add Coach Lee in there with every drill known to man, whether it's a ball security drill, a reset drill, an escape drill, a throwaway drill, he's got it all. I think those things put together put the quarterback in a good situation.

On working with a new quarterbacks coach…

I think Cav [former QBs coach Matt Cavanaugh] actually was a West Coast guy. I don't know if he and Marty overlapped in San Francisco, I think he might have been before that. He had his old playbooks from when they won Super Bowls with Joe Montana and Steve Young and stuff like that. Red Right 22 Z In, I mean, Montana and Jerry Rice made that play famous and that's a West Coast staple. So Cav was a part of that system. He was a part of that timing five-hitch, reset, run it forward and get the ball out if one and two aren't open sort of deal. I felt like Cav was in a tough spot because maybe the offenses didn't match up to his style if that makes sense. Those kinds of things happen. Not everybody is going to be a West Coast guy. Some guys come from different systems. Cav had to adapt just like Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] and Coach Sparano [offensive assistant Tony Sparano Jr.] will have to adapt. I wish him the best and I thought he was a great coach.

On competing with and helping Geno Smith…

Sure, I think part of that comes where you're just confident in yourself. If I was insecure about something or couldn't handle either this market or this pressure or, 'Man, I can't handle this competition,' maybe I wouldn't say much to him, maybe I'd be a little scared to give him help. But I don't feel like that. I just don't, it's not my personality. I'm confident, I'm ready to go, I can do it, I know I can. So when it comes to Geno, I root for other guys, I root for Greg [McElroy], I root for Matt Simms, I root for Geno. If they make a bad throw I'm right there, 'Hey, keep your head up. Let's go, next play. Move on.' Because those are the same things I say to myself. 'It's no big deal, let it go. Let's be a leader, keep your head up, shoulders back, eyes up,' like Marty always says, 'and roll.' And so that kind of thing, if I can help him with that that will help him years down the road when I'm done playing and he's still playing.

On Mornhinweg using examples of quarterbacks he coached in the past…

I mean, he doesn't need much credibility, you should just hear him talk. Not only is he engaging but he just has so much knowledge of the subject. He's like one of those professors in college that you like going to their class, and that was rare. Yeah, it adds credibility but he doesn't even need to do that. And he's not doing it like, "Yeah, I did this with Steve Young," just namedropping or something. It's more like "Hey, this is exactly how we did it. We scored in 1990-whatever and it was against the so-and-so team on this exact play from the 22-yard line and he ran the corner route and boom, here comes the under route, whatever," and just to hear him grab something like that from the history book is pretty cool.

On if Mornhinweg's teaching is helpful or suggests he can adapt…

I think they're both. I think it's just an example to show you why it's relevant, when it's worked, how it's worked and what specific situation it's worked. If you get that situation he now expects you to know it based on that example.

On Kellen Clemens' help during his rookie season leaving an imprint…

I mean, Kellen is salt of the earth. He was one of the best guys I've ever been around. It's similar, whether it's a protection question, I mean, you can see if a guy is not understanding something or looking at the board kind of sideways or just giving it a funny look and you know when the right time is to say something.

If Geno ever said, "Hey, man, leave me alone," all right, then I won't say anything. But he's been open, receptive, "Hey, what do you think about this? Talk to me about that defensive back's stance, what does that mean?" That's all normal quarterback conversation and I'm totally comfortable doing that, just like Kellen was with me because I had a million questions. You just come in as a rookie, you're just slinging it, trying to find open guys and get rid of the ball.

QB GENO SMITH

On how today's practice went…

I felt good. Another day getting better, another day getting acclimated to the playbook, another day getting used to my surroundings. I feel like I'm getting better and getting more comfortable with it. Still studying hard and still trying to get better daily.

On how comfortable he feels with the offense after three weeks in…

I feel a lot more comfortable than I obviously felt in rookie minicamp and the week before last and last week. It's just about getting the repetition. I've been getting a lot of reps. I've been making mistakes. I've been getting in the film room learning from them. I feel a lot more comfortable than I did at that point but there still a long ways to go. I feel like I had a pretty good practice, but there are still some things I need to improve upon.

On what parts of his game he feels he needs to improve on…

Everything. From the standpoint of just having a better understand of the route concepts. Having a better understanding of the protections. Being able to get in and out of certain protections. Being able to see hots and make adjustments with the wideouts, make adjustments with my backs and my offensive lineman. But those guys have done a great job. Just continuing to study. All the young guys here are working very hard and I think we're doing some good things. But we also have many things we can improve on.

On if he is concerned with the NFLPA looking into his signing with Roc Nation…

No, I don't have any concerns. Jay-Z didn't recruit me. I chose Roc Nation Sports for management because there was something that myself and my family came to a conclusion and felt comfortable with and I am happy to be a part of it. But I'm here to talk about football. That's life outside of football and what I do in this locker room is what I feel matters now.

On how much his teammates understand the offense…

I think everyone is still learning. You still have a maze out there but overall I think the guys are doing a great job of continuing to study. Continuing to get the playbook. We study film together, quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs. We all get in the locker room and discuss certain situations that we may see on the field. The communication is great and I think that as that continues to build and continues to develop and learn the terminology and learn what Marty [Mornhinweg] wants us to do, myself included, I think we will continue to get better.

On the intensity of Coach Mornhinweg…

That's Marty. He wants the work to be done the right way. Guys are out there working hard. There are going to be some mistakes but it's his job to continue to stay on us and he does a great job of that.

On the quarterback drills he runs in practice…

I don't think they are much different. I don't know what other coaches do. But I do know that for the system that we're in, for the type of plays that we run, the West Coast system, I think they are perfect for what we do.

On if they are running a lot of shotgun plays…

I just run that plays that are called. Marty runs the script, so I just go out there and run the plays. We have shotgun plays. We have a number of different packages. I'm under center about 50 percent of the time, I don't think it's either way.

On the transition to playing more under center…

It's just about repetition. We get a lot of reps, put in a lot of work off the field aside from what I do in practice, just to make sure that my feet are in the right place. I do a lot of studying. I try my best to just catch up to some of the vets. Those guys really know what they're doing out there and the speed of the game is a lot quicker than it was in college. At this point you don't really want to worry about that when you're out going through your reads, so I try and do that stuff with Coach Lee, take him to the side, talk through some things with him and just go out there and play football.

On his performance compared to the other quarterbacks so far…

That's not for me to decide. My job is to go out there and compete. Coach Mornhinweg, Coach Lee, Coach Rex, they do all the decision-making. I just go out and work hard.

On how he feels about his progress…

I feel a lot more comfortable with the offense. I feel a lot more comfortable with my drops and my reads. It happens a lot quicker. The more you do it the better you are able to see it, the better you are able to figure things out with a better pace and a better speed. It's just about polishing things up. It's going to be a long process. We have a long ways to go, I'm just going to keep plugging at it and I'm going to keep working hard.

On if he is staying in the area or going home when the offseason breaks…

I haven't decided.

On his opinion if previous young quarterbacks are raising the bar…

Those guys have done great and I'm happy for them, but I have my own task. I'm going to continue to handle things the way I have always done, which is to keep working hard. I don't worry about those things, I don't worry about what the next guy did. That's not for me to do. That's not my job. I'm just here to work hard and here to try and help my team.

On his decision making…

That is something our coaches stress. Coach Marty, Coach Lee, they stress not putting us in bad situations, not forcing the ball and taking what's there. That's what I try and do. I try to go out there and try and take my reads and if it's not there, try to throw it away. Live to play the next play.

On his opinion of if the team is a playoff team…

We are a long ways from that. We're still working. Like I said that's every teams goal at the end of the season is to hoist that Lombardi Trophy. We're working towards getting there. I'm not going to say what we are right now. There are games to be played. We have a preseason schedule, then a 16-game schedule that we will eventually find that out.

On if he has any bad days…

I wouldn't necessarily say bad days, just ups and downs. That's just a part of being a young quarterback and being a rookie in this league. These guys out there, like I said, they know what they are doing. They move fast, they see things quicker. It's my job to continue to study. Those guys do a great job in keeping my head up when I do make mistakes. They just let me know that, hey it happens, all rookies go through this. The vets do a great job, Mark [Sanchez] and David Harris, and all of those guys. Coach Rex, Coach Lee, they all just keep my morale up. Not to say that it is down, just letting me know that it is part of the process.

On if any plays are tailored to what he ran in college…

Still too soon, much too soon. Like I said, I'm just working hard and just trying to get the playbook down to the point where I know it. Once that happens, I'll be able to move forward from there.

On if Coach Mornhinweg will tailor plays to what he ran in college…

It's mostly just we're all out there competing. He has a playbook, he has a system that has worked for numerous decades. It started with Bill Walsh and it's Marty, all those guys, all those coaches, and they want it executed a certain way. It's my job to go out there, soak it all in, learn from it, be coachable, do all those things he wants us to do out there on the field and just try to execute the plays and run the offense the way he wants to run it.

On if he has watched tape of quarterbacks who have played in the West Coast system…

When I got drafted here, I knew I was going to be in the West Coast system, and I asked Coach Lee, who's been a quarterbacks coach for a number of years for a bunch of tapes. He gave me tapes of a bunch of past and present quarterbacks he's worked with, such as Eli and Peyton [Manning], other guys who have run the West Coast, some guys like Joe Montana, Boomer Esiason. When I was home prior to coming here for rookie minicamp, I watched some of that, tried to get acclimated to it and tried to do some of those drills I see on tape.

On how much the offensive coaches bring up coaches they have coached with in the past…

I mean, not much. We all know how that works, where it comes from, who he's coached, who he's coached with. But every guy's different. Myself, Mark, Matt [Simms], Greg [McElroy], we're all different. We all do things differently but it's all under the same umbrella. So we've got to do it our separate ways, the way Coach Marty wants it done, the way it's been executed for the past two or three decades. Like I said it's just about getting better and getting acclimated to it.

On if Coach Mornhinweg refers to quarterbacks he has coached in the past…

I mean, he lectures me sometimes. Sometimes he references those guys but he's never telling me "Hey, you should do it like this guy." Like I said, every single quarterback is different.

On if it would be a disappointment to not be named the starter…

Not at all. The coaches are going to choose who they feel is best for the team. It's not my job to really worry about that. Like I said, I just go out there and work hard. Whatever it takes to help my team win is what I'm going to do. I'm going to give it my best shot and see what happens from there.

On how not being named the starter would hurt his confidence…

It wouldn't hurt my confidence. It just means I need to continue to work hard. I have confidence that eventually one day I'll get there. But it's going to take time and that happens for every quarterback. Like I said, everyone's situation is always going to be different. So that's what I'm going to do, just focus on my situation and continue to work.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising