Sanchez's Wednesday News Conference

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

On the difference between Buffalo's defense this year as opposed to last year…

Well, they're just playing a lot smarter and are just playing a lot better. And those two additions of their draft pick [Marcell] Dareus and [Nick] Barnett at linebacker make an already good unit really good. They're just playing teams really tough, playing teams tough for all four quarters, and there's no quit in these guys. They're a much better, much improved team. So it's going to be a huge challenge for us to go into their place and try and come out with a win but we're going to have to play really well and really smart.

On Buffalo's defense creating a lot of turnovers…

Absolutely, I think they're number one in the league, if I'm not mistaken, in interceptions, and they have a few fumbles as well. They get them multiple times in a game, so that can just really hurt an offense. We need to play smart, can't give them anything and we have to be in it for all four quarters and not let up.

On the potential weather problems in Buffalo…

Sure, ball security this week is at a premium. One, because of the way they play and two, because of potential weather. So that's an important aspect of this game and usually the team that takes care of the ball best wins.

On coming back from the bye week…

It feels good. I think we had a great Wednesday and our goal is to win today and be sharp. That's what we felt we were doing. So we have to make some corrections from the practice, but I liked our effort, I liked our intensity and I liked our speed, and the emphasis and the game plan — I really like our base game plan. Now we have to carry it over to third down, red zone and play well.

On keeping up the momentum from the Chargers win…

I think we had a great plan, and I think Coach [Brian] Schottenheimer, Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh, Bill Callahan, Hank [Ellard], Coach [Anthony] Lynn, Coach [Mike] Devlin, everybody, they have the right plan. They really coached so hard before that bye week, and nothing has really changed. It feels like it's that same intensity. It feels like these next couple weeks we have to go on a little run here, and it starts this week. But I was proud of the way we really converted on third down and kept doing it in a row. That was big and everybody stepped up. It was JK [Jeremy Kerley], it was Tone [Santonio Holmes], it was Plaxico [Burress], it was everybody, Dustin [Keller] and the backs, so that was huge.

On struggling on the road this season after being so good the past two years…

Easy, easy [joking]. It's [three] games now, be easy on us. This is still a tough team on the road. We're just going to have to play smart, we can't have any penalties and we have to take care of the football, and that'll really set us free. It starts with our preparation today. I thought guys did a great job.

On Shonn Greene breaking out against the Chargers…

It was great. Shonn Greene, he's a powerful back. And I said it last week, two weeks ago, whatever, when I'm chasing him after the play, that's a good thing. So I'll be tired, that's fine. I can run after him all day. If we can have that, that'll be great.

On coming back from the bye and looking at the big stretch coming up…

We've looked at it from a big picture, just Monday coming back and seeing where we could be and establishing the goal for these next three, four weeks or whatever, next month. But right now our focus is on Buffalo and that's where this thing starts. So I thought we had a great start to the week and I'm really pleased with where we're headed and now it's time to tighten things up, really focus in and play well. This is a really good team, so we have to play well.

On Buffalo's defense getting interceptions…

I think they've played their schemes a lot smarter this year. They're not giving up big plays, they're making you earn them, and they've been tackling much better. I think they've put an emphasis on the pass rush, especially this past week, getting after Washington the way they did. So you cause pressure on the quarterback that could cause turnovers. It's my job to be smart, get rid of the ball when I need to, and be accurate or they'll make you pay.

On capitalizing on Buffalo's defensive aggressiveness…

I think some of the times they've just been at the right place. It's not just them being aggressive, but them not jumping routes so much as being in the right place and running their scheme so well and hustling to the football that when they tip a screen pass, the guy behind them is right there, where maybe in years past they haven't been. And it's an energized group. These guys are all playing to the whistle.

So I think that's where a lot of it is from. It's not as much just taking a gamble and taking one to the house. They've made good plays on tipping the pass or really playing their scheme so well like a trail technique and a quarterback will throw it inside on them and they just jump in front of the route because they're playing their technique right. More than just gambling or jumping something, they're playing their schemes really well.

On the offensive line against the Bills defensive line…

Sure, they've just been much more physical, they've really attacked and are hitting downhill on these runs. So our run blocking is at a premium this week. We need to really define our blocks and get up on the second level, establish our running game. And that's what Coach Callahan is preaching to those offensive linemen. They'll get the message and they'll play well.

On why this year will be different coming out of the bye week as opposed to the last two years…

I think that bye week practice when we came back, that whole week, we were kind of searching on Friday it felt like, and Saturday, to really tune in, because Wednesday and Thursday weren't good. And today was already a great Wednesday, and Monday, too. So I think just this week's prep has already surpassed what we did last year.

And I just remember that feeling going into that Green Bay game, maybe not being as confident as we wanted to be, just because things didn't look good on film. When you look back on it on Saturday night in the hotel and you're watching some of your plays from the week and they're all completions and all runs that bust and things look good, then yes, you feel good going into the game. But last year it wasn't the case. It was an ugly week of practice and it showed on Sunday.

On if having different skill position players each year makes coming off the bye more difficult…

I don't know. We have to go with the guys we have, though. Nothing is changing. Their work ethic isn't changing, they're working hard and we're trying to get it right. I think we started to click last week — Plaxico sure had his day. And who knows, he could do it again, or it could be somebody else. We converted on third down, that was important, we established the run game, and we got completions when we needed them, so that was big.

On if it is difficult to get new players instead of keeping the same weapons on offense…

Sure, you have to get comfortable with the guys you have, and I'm so lucky to have these guys. So we're finally starting to hit our groove. Nick [Mangold] is feeling good up front at center, anchoring that thing up front. These guys are making big plays in the pass game, and the run game is really starting to go. So we just need to keep plugging, stay positive, and we made it through that three-game slump, and now we have to keep rolling past it.

On if he had a chance to reflect on the season during the bye…

Absolutely. I think looking at the beginning part of our season, when Nick goes down, we had a tough three-game stretch there. And he's not healthy for that Patriots game, no question. So he fought his butt off, played hard and we were just short. We were in that game. If we play this thing until the end, we know we have a chance.

The other two games we didn't play our best and that's fine. But I think I was just proud of the way guys persevered through that. I think people might have been calling to hit the panic button on the outside, and guys in here didn't really blink. It's a long season and everything we want is still right there in front of us. It's hard to say that after three losses, but now you win two games in a row, go on a bye week, now we're ready to go. So it feels good. It's really too bad that Nick went down and we had to go through that, but that's the way it goes.

On if losing Mangold earlier this year was like losing his safety net…

It changes things, of course, but it doesn't mean that I can just play poorly. I have to step up and lead these guys regardless. I'm just proud of the way we keep improving. I think that's been huge and we made an emphasis on the run game, we made an emphasis on third down, and these past couple weeks we've really improved. So that's good.

On if he has talked to Santonio Holmes about his role in the offense…

Sure, he's doing fine. We had a penalty on his touchdown catch. If that's not a penalty, there's another big touchdown for him and I don't know if anyone says anything. I don't think, really, there's anything to worry about. Plaxico had a great day against the Chargers, Santonio had some crucial catches in there. And it could be the same this week, or it could be Santonio's day, it could be Dustin's. Either way, it doesn't matter. These guys are trying to win, and that's our focus.

On if it gets easier to manage wide receivers' expectations as he gets older…

Sure. We're not in the business of keeping people smiling, we're in the business of winning. Whether it's rushing it 100 times a game, is that the quarterback's favorite game? No, probably not, but we win. And when we get a chance to throw, you'd better throw it right. So when these guys get a chance to catch, be at the right landmark and I'll hit them, and that's it. So whatever it takes, really, I don't think anybody is upset about it or anything like that.

On the number of passes targeted for Holmes being lower than normal for a No. 1 receiver…

I think teams know, these guys study hard and they have good coaches, so they know 10 [Holmes] is just a baller. And they want to keep him from getting the ball. So they do their best to do that, and we do our best to get him the ball. And sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. When it does, great, we'll probably win. And when it doesn't, hopefully we're still winning, and that's it.

On if Rex Ryan's announcement that the offense was going back to "ground and pound" lifted any weight off his shoulders…

I don't think so. I mean, we threw the ball plenty against San Diego and I think it's more of a mentality than anything, than just a stat, like we need to run it X amount of times. I don't think it matters. If we're efficient on first down and we're getting completions, we're getting 3-plus yard runs, we'll be fine. So I don't think it really mattered.

On newcomer Shawn Nelson and what he brings to the offense…

The tight ends look great, throwing to them on Monday and today. And that's one of those things, too. You're getting new guys during the season, you have to get some extra reps with them and make sure they understand the verbiage just in case somebody goes down, God forbid. We need guys in there that can play and know the system. But all those guys have looked great.

On the importance of getting chunk yardage…

I think those big plays will come. They happen and they're explosive plays and you want to get more than the other team and that's great. But at the end of the day, if we're sustaining 10-, 12-, 13-play drives, that's just as good as one big-play drive. But they do help with momentum, that's for sure.

On if the Bills are playing their scheme better this year…

Not too much. I just think Barnett and Dareus have added quite a bit. [Chris] Kelsay is the same, he's a really good player. And he's been a good player, he just has a little better help. That secondary has played together for a long time now. With [Jairus] Byrd, he used to be the young guy and now he's the three-year vet and that guy can really play. They just communicate really well, they know where to be, and they've gotten some really good bounces because they're playing so hard. Teams don't just get lucky. These guys are working really hard, and it's obvious, it shows.

On Cam Newton…

He's killing it. Unbelievable. I don't know, I haven't studied him or broken down tape or anything, but I know he's a freakish athlete and when things break down, I wish I could run like that. You go from one or two reads and take off, he's his own checkdown, so that's huge. That's pretty cool, that's a pretty cool weapon. And he knows that, he's been smart that way. But he's made big plays when he needed to and it looks like he's understanding quite a bit what's going on. So I'm thrilled for him. As a quarterback you root for other quarterbacks, and he's doing a heck of a job.

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