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Sanchez's Wednesday News Conference

Transcript of quarterback Mark Sanchez's news conference following Wednesday's midday practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center:

On his confidence in being a leader and how much of it came from his father…

Wow. I think part of it you're born with and you learn from other people, from my older brothers, from my dad, from my mom. From my dad's side, him being a firefighter, it's very similar to being a quarterback because he has his own group, his team, and they rely on each other. They count on each other and they need to be accountable to each other with their lives. While our trade isn't quite [risking] our lives, it's wins and losses and that can change people's careers, so it's important to us. Then for my mom, her idea of leadership was serving others first and being that kind of leader.

There are different types. There are guys who can speak up and guys who can lead by example. I try to mix in a little bit of both. They've taught me to be competitive and taught me to lead from an early age, so that's kind of where it came from. It just seems natural here. You're the quarterback of a multimillion-dollar franchise. You're the face, you're the guy, and you need to wear it and own it and be it at all times, whether you're at the podium or at home studying your plays or you're out with the guys. You've got to make the right decisions for the team and talk the right way and love those guys around you.

I guess that's where it started, but it makes my job so easy here when you have guys like Nick Mangold to help you, when you have perennial Pro Bowlers and future Hall of Famers like LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] to help you. It's a joy to do it here.

On how reassuring it is to have a veteran wide receiver like Jerricho Cotchery…

All three of them [Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes] and Dustin [Keller]'s learning so much, too. For Jerricho, he did such a great job of knowing where to sit in the zone, and then breaking the tackle down the sideline, making the right cut, hurdling the defender on the sideline [on his 58-yard reception at New England]. He looked like it was a kickoff return or something. It was awesome just to watch him do that.

For him to rack up yards like that and make a big push for us when we needed it the most was huge. All last year, all throughout this year, he's been there for me just as a safety valve and made some huge plays for a young quarterback and really bailed me out. He's done a great job. The last game was perfect for him. He deserved that.

On having the most road playoff wins by any quarterback if the team wins this weekend…

For the record, it's not something I'm thinking about. We're just playing to win every game, and we had to win today and that was this practice. I felt like we had a great start to the week. When it comes to our team, I feel like as soon as Saturday walkthrough hits ... Friday night you go to bed. You lay out your clothes. You've got your suit ready, your tie. I know exactly what shoes I'm wearing. I tuck my socks right in my shoes. I've got my belt in the other shoe and it's just you're ready. It sounds so cheesy like it's the first day of school and you lay out your stuff, but that's really the way it is. I don't know what other guys do on the team, but they probably have a routine.

I know exactly where I'm going to eat on Friday. I know who I'm going to eat with. I know what server is going to be serving me. I know exactly what it's going to be and what time we're leaving. Bus leaves at 2:00. Don't be there at 2:01 unless you're Darrelle [Revis] [laughter]. I know Rex is going to say that. I just know what's coming. Meghan [Gilmore, manager, media relations] is going to send me a text saying, "Hey, you've got a production meeting right when we get to the hotel." Thirty-five minutes later, I'm going to go to my room, look at my plays and go to the meeting. It just fits. It feels right. I feel like everybody on the team has their own little routine that way, so it works out great.

On if he ever thought he would make it to the AFC Championship Game in his first two seasons…

The most important thing is what's at stake. You never know. You dream of going to the Super Bowl every year and winning every game, that's how you come in as a rookie. Once you understand after your first season what it's really like and how much hard work it takes, the dedication and grind of the season just to make it to the AFC Championship Game. Then, to feel that last year losing, this year it's like "Man, we have such a great opportunity." We wouldn't want to feel like that again.

As competitors, and guys who want to win, we've put together the best team possible. We're peaking at the right time, and now it's about not making anything up. Not changing what you do. Just being yourself, having fun with the preparation, but being serious and taking advantage of this opportunity, understanding what's at stake and trying to win this game.

On what Rex Ryan has taught him about leadership…

Definitely not to hold anything back and to be yourself. I don't know how many times he's told me that. Even in the toughest situations, he's always told me he's never wavered in his confidence. It's taught me to never waver. You've got to trust yourself. When all else fails, get back to basics, go with what you know and trust your instincts. He'll always tell me in the toughest situations, be yourself, be the guy we drafted.

He tells the story, when we went out to dinner with Mr. [Woody] Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex, Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] and Cave [Matt Cavanaugh]. We were walking out of the restaurant and my car's on the far side of the restaurant and they're walking to their car. Right next to their car is a motorcycle. I said, 'All right, I'll see you guys later,' and I took the helmet off the motorcycle and was ready to get on the motorcycle. [I was] just messing around. I felt that comfortable with them. At the time, it was just fun.

I remember after the Atlanta game last year Rex brought that up and said, "Be that guy. Be the guy that got on the motorcycle, just be him." And he's right. He's taught me so much about playing in this league and being a tough competitor and a fighter. It's fun to play for him and you learn a lot from him.

On what winning games against Tom Brady and Peyton Manning does for his confidence…

It's the same thing as the question about the record. That kind of stuff is maybe something you'll tell your grandkids about: "We were playing against a great quarterback." For now, these wins are for us. It's for the Jets. Rex and me and everybody on the team. We're all 4-1 in the playoffs. We all beat the Indianapolis Colts, not just Peyton Manning, and not just Tom Brady but the Patriots. We all beat them. As a franchise, we beat them. That's a huge accomplishment, but we don't want it to end there. I don't look at it as playing against one quarterback or another.

On what it means to have Dennis Byrd around the team…

It's just fitting for him to be our [honorary] captain. I'm proud that he is. I wouldn't want it any other way. Hearing about his story for the first time really makes you understand how fortunate we are and how fragile your career is. These moments you have on the plane, hanging around in the locker room, having fun with guys, going to eat, playing on the field, it's pretty special. It can end at any moment. That was just a good reminder for us of how fortunate we are. His story definitely gave us inspiration last week, and it's just fitting that he's going to lead us out before the game.

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