Sanchez's Wednesday News Conference

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

On not having too much wiggle room for the rest of the season…

We're focused. I think that's our general mood here. [We're] trying to just clean up some little things, whether it's in the pass game, run game, protection, speaking from an offensive standpoint. Sharpening things up on special teams. I know Coach Westhoff is coaching hard, getting his guys sharp, because those could be huge hidden points for us. On defense, continuing to tighten things up, coverages and schemes and stuff. As a team and as an organization, guys are excited, more focused. We know our playoff pictures depends on this week. So each week is its own set of playoff games. I think guys are focused if anything.

On what he has seen from the Redskins defense…

Well, they're multiple. Those guys move all over the place. They do a great job with their each pass rushers, [they have] a savvy MIKE linebacker who's been there for a long time. He can put them in the right positions. In the secondary, they're veteran guys are well. They know how to play route combinations and they're very sharp. They don't get out of position a lot. We know their pass rush is going to be strong. We know we need to play well in the pass game, much better than last week on first and second down, and keep fighting and keeping our run game going.

On how good it would be to have a winning streak at this point in the season…

We're on a winning streak right now and we need another one this week, so we've got to keep taking the momentum from each game, clean up the mistakes, understanding that, sure, we won last week, but we know, as an organization, as an offense, that's not a winning formula. So we can all get better and make sure we're just getting our rest, taking care of our bodies this long stretch when it starts getting cold. This is when we seem to thrive, so we've got to keep doing that.

On if the team chemistry is building…

Absolutely, I think a game like last game, emotionally, brings a team together because schematically we weren't our best and it showed early. It shows in the stats, but the most important stat column is the win-and-loss column, and we ended up winning the game. But we know we can be better, whether it's time of possession, converting on third downs. We were great in the red zone and that's what put us ahead but we can all get better.

On what getting a first-quarter score does for the team…

I think it just sets the tempo for the game. It avoids having to play catch-up, and we've done that fairly well since we've been here, is play catch-up, but when you can jump out early it really does help just set the tone for the game. It gets everybody excited. We know how to finish games. We absolutely know how to finish. We've done it for three years, but now it's a matter of starting fast and sustaining the entire game.

On if he hears fans booing or if he tunes it out…

Right now, we're so focused, you've got to understand and I do even as just a third-year player, that this is the market that we're in. These fans expect a lot. They expect us to win. Just like we do, and we put so much pressure on ourselves. You can't let that stuff get to you. You have to keep fighting and keep playing for the guys in this locker room. They want results. They want us to score touchdowns and stop them on defense and run punts back and that's fine. That's fine. We just need to play better and we know that. Whether they're booing or cheering, we need to play our best.

On if he has analyzed his slow starts to help him improve upon them…

It's constant coaching from Coach Cavanaugh and Coach Schottenheimer about footwork and reads and getting off to a quick start. It's important to get completions early and I didn't do that last game. So that's one of the big things, whether it was a footwork issue or a read issue, those things, you just want to clean those up. And every once in a while you don't have your best game or when 10 guys do it right and one guy doesn't, then it doesn't work out. I think that's kind of the way we were doing those first really three quarters-ish. We were just too spotty. We didn't have 11 of 11 guys working and doing the right thing, whether it was me or anybody.

On if the fans crossed the line by booing him before the game started…

Like I said, our mood is, we're focused. There's nothing to do about that, except play better. That's kind of where I stand with that.

On not playing his best game but throwing for a career-high four touchdown passes…

Well, the most important thing was getting the win and I'm proud of our team for doing that. But me personally, us as an offense, the first and second down pass game was awful. It was the worst I've ever been. When you put yourself in third and long, then it makes it harder to convert. Now, our third downs aren't as good. So we ended up making up for it on a couple of drives late in the game and we ended up getting to about 50 percent, I believe, on third down including fourth down. We've got to put ourselves in a better position to get to third and manageable and we didn't do that on first and second down. Part of that is just me understanding, and it's something you know and sometimes things slip by you, but it's second and 10 and I'm throwing a 16-yard in-route to Plaxico [Burress], when the back's standing there for three-and-a-half yards if he just catches it and falls down. If he breaks a tackle, who knows, we might get seven yards. So it's just making sure I have the right approach. There's always a time to press and you'll know when that time is, and that was the end of the game. When you have to throw a ball down the field on a short down and distance because you're getting pressure or something. You know that. When we have the opportunities to get completions underneath, that's where I need to be better on first and second down.

On if he feels he was pressing early in the game…

Well, any time you try to put bad plays away, or bad reads, whatever, foot work, anything, you try and put it behind you, but inevitably, when you start to feel an offense not working together, we're going 10 out of 11 guys do it right and then somebody's wrong, whether it's me, or a wideout, or a running back, an offensive lineman, it's anybody, and when it doesn't work like that, it's like we take our turns making mistakes and that's where we've got to get better, especially on first and second down.

On how he approaches miscommunications with Santonio Holmes and how they two attempt to correct them…

Well, you've got to be a professional about it and be up front and honest. Tone [Santonio Holmes] was great about it because he knows that wasn't his best game, that wasn't my best game, and we still won. It wasn't any of our best games other than the offensive line, but we still won, so just think, if we clean up a couple of mistakes here and there on first and second down, down in the red zone, things like that, then that catch when he makes a great physical play, reading me rolling out, that's just icing on the cake. That'll put us ahead 14 points instead of needing that to win.

 think that's the main mentality that was so frustrating after the game because I know we're better than that, I know Tone and I are better than that, and we'll get better. It starts with me bringing up some of the stuff. He's been very open. He's working his butt off in practice and that's exactly what we need.

On when he spoke to Holmes…

We talked over the past couple days, but just like we always do after a win or a loss, whether I'm praising him or he's got something to say to me, "Hey, you've got to get that ball off quicker. Put it lower for me, because I'm not trying to get my head taken off over the middle," or whatever it is. That stuff's important and our chemistry is great. And our communication is great so that's the most important thing, and he's open to criticism, to praise, obviously. Praise and criticism, he'll take them both. And he wants to get better for this team.

On being good on the move and if it is important to get outside of the pocket…

I think a lot of that is a tribute to the offensive linemen. They push part of the pocket one way and kind of collapse one of those sides and you get a chance to get a clear vision out to the right or left. That's easy for a quarterback to really see things and let athletic wide receivers, savvy wide receivers like we have, work. So that was part of that. Whether it's nakeds and bootlegs and stuff, that comes off of working really well with the run game. So as our run game keeps improving and our offensive line play keeps improving, that stuff can open up if we're running the ball the right way. We're starting to get back to what we do, the way we run the ball well, get timely completions, big plays when we need them. But it's going to take all that, whether it's on the move or in the pocket. We all have to get better and it starts with me.

On how much more he wants to get outside the pocket…

It's just a good changeup and it moves the launch point for the quarterback. If you drop back every snap and you're eight-and-a-half, nine yards deep, then those defensive ends and tackles, they know exactly where they're going every time. When you get a chance to mix it up, it always makes it tougher on them. So that's important, to just move the launch point on the quarterback.

On Coach Cavanaugh pulling him aside after his touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes…

I was actually pretty excited, I was just hiding it because I know we're better than that and I didn't want to get too excited before the game was over. But it was an awesome play by Santonio, exactly what we work on. The quarterback moves, you have to mirror the quarterback, find him. And it couldn't have been done any better, at a better time. So it was a great read. I was honestly really excited. It was just a different kind of excitement because I know what is at stake and I know how good we can be, and I just don't want to miss that opportunity.

On if the offense has to play better for the Jets to make the playoffs…

No question, absolutely we have to play better. It's not a winning formula. You look at all our goals and stuff that we wrote in the team room in our team meeting, but we lost the turnover battle. There's no excuse for that. We lost the rushing attempts plus completions battle, we lost the field position battle, we lost the time of possession battle. You can't do that and expect to win, not in this league, not with the teams we're playing coming up. So it was just a good reminder of the will of our team to win and how much we want to win and the kind of competitors and winners we have, but another good reminder of how much better we need to play.

On why the team has been better in the fourth quarter…

I think we've all been better in the fourth quarter. And we all just get a little bit sharper, and it shows. In my play it shows, with everything, with our run game, with everything. When we're all on the same page, it really clicks. We come up with such good game plans, it's "dial-a-play," it doesn't matter because we're all working together.

On why he personally plays better in the fourth quarter…

I just feel like there is a sense of urgency for all of us. And I think when we get off track is when we have nine or ten guys do it right and one guy doesn't and two guys don't. In the fourth quarter we all seem to do it right, every time. And that's why the plays work, that's why we sustain drives, that's why we come back and win games.

On how much of a boost it would be to get LaDainian Tomlinson and Jeremy Kerley back, and his assessment of Patrick Turner…

PT [Turner] has really stepped into that role with JK down and given us another big target, a big guy who has quick feet who can work the slot as well and provides a good complement to Plaxico and Tone. To have Kerley back would be awesome this week. He's working hard, he got reps in practice today and stuff so it's looking good, but we'll see. Same thing with LT [Tomlinson], he just provides us one other great perspective, somebody who has been in positions like this, somebody who knows what crunch time games are like and somebody that knows what crunch time games are like and somebody that has great hands out of the backfield and can run the rock. So it's big for us.

On if he is sick…

I don't know, I don't sound great. Sorry. It was a little windy out there, we were screaming our heads off communicating. I feel good.

On if he is having as much fun this season as the last two…

It's honestly, it sounds crazy, but things are looking up, things are looking good. I'm just feeling more and more comfortable. It's not showing quite yet, but I know it will. We're right there. You see the mistakes we make on film and we're inches away. It's hard because we want to do it right. Everybody wants to do it right, and we're going to. We have guys that will fix it. So we're going to be all right.

On what he expects from Washington's pass rushers…

Those guys do a great job of setting the edge. They're edge pass rushers. So this is a week not to hang onto the ball too long. There's a fine line between standing in the pocket, trusting your protection and then understanding that, I don't care who is blocking, if you don't hold up for five or seven seconds, you have to be smart at the same time. We have guys that run good routes, and they're going to be open and I have to find them. So whatever it takes, but if things do break down, if we do get a chance to move, then that's when I have to be smart, extend the play and understand the situation.

On if he has heard about people questioning his work ethic…

I don't think that's the problem here. I'm working my butt off and I dedicate myself to this. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, absolutely, that's fine. But other than that, that's not our worry here.

On Kevin O'Connell…

He's so good at watching film and understanding concepts and reads and coverages, that when we sit and watch film together, we're talking constantly about what you're seeing, "Talk to me about this," "How did you know that?" He's been in three, four different offenses and he understands, not just necessarily what we're trying to do, but football in general. And things work a certain way, especially in this league. When you blitz from one side, you have to do something to the other side. He understands big picture stuff, so it really gives us a good perspective. Him and Brunell, having seen so much, they do a great job for us.

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