Sanchez's Monday News Conference

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Transcript of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez's locker room interview during media availability Monday afternoon:    

On his evaluation of his performance over the first half of the season…

We started off strong, came out rolling. We had a couple of hiccups there, two tough games at the quarterback spot. I am taking responsibility for those. I learned a lot from those games. These last two, a great win on the West Coast against Oakland and a tough one yesterday that really stings going into the bye. Overall, we're 4-4. We're a great team. We lost a couple of these games, just nailbiters. We just need to figure out a way to start winning these games instead of losing them. We need to show up in all three phases to do that.

On where he is now as to where he expected to be…

More than anything, those two, the New Orleans game and the Buffalo game were just two stinkers. They were bad. There are no two ways about it. Bad, poor decisions, poor reads and just terrible games by a quarterback. The way I bounced back, I was proud of that. The way I wasn't afraid to throw it after that, I'm real proud of that.

I have had the same mindset the entire time, that something good is about to happen. We're on a great football team. I don't have to do it on my own. It really showed yesterday. Dustin [Keller], Jerricho [Cotchery] and Braylon [Edwards] were awesome. The O-line was great, the rushing game was solid. TJ [Thomas Jones] has rushed for 100 yards in the last three games. The guy is unbelievable. When you think about it that way, without those two games we are sitting pretty right now. You can't change those. You have to just move on and keep playing well and stay positive.

Like I said, we're on a great football team. Our record doesn't show the type of players we have, the kind of people we have in this locker room and the kind of coaching we have. This is a great time for us to just get away, think some things over and get ready to play.

On what he will be looking to improve in the second half of the season…

I will definitely watch every game at least once in this week off. There will be little things from each game. My footwork, cleaning up some of the reads and some decision-making things that need to improve. Overall, I won't be satisfied. I never will be. A lot of people will say, "Hey, man, you're a rookie and you're playing really good for a rookie." But I don't want to play like a rookie. I want to play like a 10-year vet, a Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion. That is the way I want to play and that's the way I feel like I can play with this team around me.

I'll clean up a lot of those things, but mainly the footwork stuff can always improve, quickness in the pocket, eliminating that first read when he's not there and then not coming off him too quick. There is a fine line in between there. Just remembering that these 3- or 4-yard completions can get you someplace. You give a guy like Jerricho a chance, you give Dustin a chance, they're going to take off. They can get you a 50-yard completion on a 4-yard pass. Just never lose sight of that and keep playing smart. This game is awesome. It's the coolest thing I've ever done in my life. I just want to keep going and playing well.

On the importance of the six days off…

It's important for every player in this league to get the bye week in, especially a quarterback, especially a young quarterback. I understand that. I'll get a chance to go home and see my high school coach, see my high school play, go to USC a little bit and see the guys, and just recharge and get ready for these last eight games. These are the big ones. We have to push now. We put ourselves in not a sink-or-swim situation but we just need to win some games. I know we're capable of doing that. We just need to take it one week at a time. This week off is going to be good for all of us.

On if his defining moment will be how he responded after the Buffalo game…

We'll see what happens these next eight games. You can't say for sure, I can't put my finger on something like that now and just feel like I figured it out totally. I'd like to say that I've gotten better and I've improved and it hasn't affected my confidence. We still have a lot of football to play. I couldn't have bounced back the way I have without the game plan from Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer], without his trust in me, without a great running game and receivers just taking the pressure off of me.

So if it is a defining moment, great, but I want it to be a defining moment for our team in this bye week. Just come back reenergized, recharged and ready to go and rip off a few wins in a row and get rolling again.

On if he will balance the time off with looking at how to improve…

Sure. I'm not going to just crawl in a hole and take a nap for a week. It's a mental thing. I'm not big on losing. I hate it, it's hard. Rex says it the best: "The food never tastes as good when you lose, the cold tub is 10 degrees colder." Everything is not as good. We want that feeling of winning again. I know that to win when we come back, I need to study, I need to prepare and I need to improve for myself and for this team. I'm never going to get away from it totally. I'll be studying, probably too much. That's just the way I need to be. I would rather be more prepared than underprepared.

On if he plans on going to a Mission Viejo HS game…

Either a Mission game or something. Just relaxing. I may be going to their practice. I have to work out anyway, so I'll work out at the high school. I'll work out at SC, see everybody there, have fun and come back in good shape.

On if he will prepare for Jacksonville or all eight teams during the bye week…

I'll talk to Schotty about that, but definitely Jacksonville. Definitely the first eight games we played and then after that we play a couple of guys again, New England and Buffalo, just reviewing some of the notes we've taken, things we've seen from them. You can't just do a game plan for everybody. Just take it one week at a time, get prepared to come back.

On if he is looking at video that he wants to look at or if it is from the offensive coaches...

A little bit of both. A lot of it is the games we've played. I have an idea what they've told me each week. I've taken notes from each game each week on a print out where it says the play called, what happened and coaching points. Those things are important just to come back and show that I've learned from those mistakes.

On if the coaches were specific on what to review…

Stuff we've talked about already. Footwork stuff can always get better, cleaning up reads. It's the first year in a system like this, new terminology. As good as I feel with this and as comfortable as I feel, I still don't have it mastered. It is my first year. A lot of things to keep improving.

On what his expectations were from the beginning of the season to now…

I pick things up fast, I'm learning on the fly and when things happen we are trying to make plays. This is an incredible ride. This is really cool: Start off like that, go through some tough games, bounce back — that's what this league is all about.

I guess the biggest lesson I've learned so far is that there is nobody here anymore. People help, but you're a professional athlete. You're a grownup now and there's nobody in the locker room at halftime in the Buffalo game to pull you to the side. People came up and talked to me, Cav [Matt Cavanaugh] really helped and Schotty really helped, but nobody like in college where you get the rah-rah speech or something that really clicks with you: "Here is what we're going to do, we're going to run this and this is the defense that they're going to play." It just doesn't happen like that for you anymore. You have to do it yourself. You have to reset your own focus. Those things you learned in college from Coach Carroll and in high school from Coach Johnson, you have to reset. You have to start over and have a short memory. It's real and you never really had to do it on your own until now.

It is fun and I felt it this week. I felt it at halftime. I wasn't playing like I did in the Buffalo game, but things weren't right on offense. We were stagnant, we weren't playing well. That's when a good quarterback manufactures some energy. It gave us a little juice. We go out and kick a field goal. I walk over to the defense and say, "We got these guys' number, we're going to score. You give us the ball back, we're going to come back and score. No more field goals, we're going to score." Boom — we go back and score. "We're going to do it again. Give us the ball back and we'll do it again." They run a kickoff back and we go back and score.

That kind of energy, that sort of confidence started to come out in me and to look back at this game and see that, I'm excited for these next eight games.

On if he has worked on his pump-fakes for years…

Some stuff comes kind of natural. I can't give everything away now [laughing]. Some stuff you are just going through your read and no, it's not there, it's the next guy. Some stuff I am trying to move somebody, sometimes it is something different.

On if pump-fakes are working as well now as they did in the past…

It's worked fine. It's never gotten me into trouble at this point. It's one of those things that Schotty has been great about. He knows that it's something that comes natural and that's not something you really coach somebody. He talks about how Brett [Favre] used to use pump-fakes, how Ben Roethlisberger uses pump-fakes. If it comes natural and it's not messing up your timing, keep rolling with it. If there is a situation where it got us into trouble and I'm not trusting my reads and just pumping all over the place, then I won't.

It always keeps guys honest. It doesn't make them fly off their hash and go attack a guy every time. Sometimes it does, sometimes it's in a play, we have a double move and I'm going to pump somebody. It's worth it and has gotten results.

On his reads and not locking in on the primary target…

I felt good this game and it's only improved every week. I feel comfortable. I don't want to give a percentage, I don't know about that. It's going well. I'm getting to my second or third guy. I've checked the ball down better than I ever have. I'd say really good.

On if he was surprised that the quarterback keeper worked so well…

No. Schotty told me how it was going to happen. I went over and told everybody that the play was over and that we scored [laughter]. Schotty dialed that one up perfect. He knew the look we were going to get and he was dead-on. That was great preparation by him and an awesome call, a gutsy call. It fired everybody up — it fired me up that he called it. When it came through the headset I was like, "All right." The ref was looking for the ball. You can't just come off on a play fake when you actually have the ball. You have to sell it when you actually hand it off.

On how he would grade himself halfway through the season…

I'll leave that up to you guys. I know where I'm at. I'm comfortable with where I'm at. I'm excited and confident, but I don't have a grade.

On what message he has for the fans…

We have a whole second half of the season. Just like yesterday. The first half wasn't the way we expected it maybe. It wasn't the way we absolutely wanted to play. The second half we came out roaring. That is the way we plan on doing it the second week of the season. We've appreciated their support. It's been exciting the whole time. Hopefully it's been fun to watch. We'll try to get some more W's.

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