The Jets turned Mark Sanchez loose at practice Saturday morning and their highly-touted quarterback responded with a sparkling performance while leading the starting offense. And Sanchez didn't wait long to take advantage of his opportunity on another beautiful morning here in Cortland.
On his first rep in team drills, Sanchez threw a pretty deep ball to Jerricho Cotchery for a 40-yard touchdown. Cornerback Darrelle Revis doesn't get beat often, but J-Co got a step and the rookie was on the money.
"It was a post route. We wanted to take a couple of shots down the field and Sanchez just threw a great ball," J-Co told me. "In individual, he was throwing everything on the money so I expected that ball to be on the money. He put in a perfect spot."
""I put it in a place where only Jerricho could get it and he made a great adjustment for the ball," added Sanchez. "Obviously, you don't throw the ball down the field like that without great protection."
Later in practice, Sanchez didn't look like a rookie while leading the ones in a two-minute drill. Trailing 13-9, the offense took over the ball at the 45-yard line and 1:42 on the game clock.
Sanchez hit Chansi Stuckey on back-to-back plays for gains of one and then seven. Facing a 3rd-and-one, S Kerry Rhodes jumped offside and gave the offense a free five yards.
Then Sanchez dumped off a screen to Leon Washington and the explosive back picked up 8 before a nice stop by Revis. After Brad Smith's short reception was ruled out of bounds, Sanchez went to a hot read and delivered a quick strike to Stuckey. Stuck didn't waste any time and scooted into the end zone for a 25-yard TD.
"Mark did a great job of establishing a tempo. Our tempo was great because he was getting everybody going, getting the plays in and out," Cotchery said. "He had everyone going and that put a lot of pressure on the defense. He did a great job of leading us today."
"He's handling it well and he's moving the offense," added Revis, who intercepted Sanchez late this morning. "He's being a captain, he's being a leader. He's out there saying stuff to those guys, 'Let's get this first down. Let's move the ball.' Things like that to get the offense ready to go and play."
It was Sanchez's first full practice with the starting offense and Rex Ryan said that Clemens will be back with the ones this afternoon.
"He did a really good job, made the proper checks, read the defense well," said TE Dustin Keller. "When there was pressure, he dropped it off to the right man. He did a really good job especially for his first full day with ones."
(Rex Ryan just announced that Kellen Clemens will start the Jets' first preseason game against the Rams.)
We'll have a full practice report later…