Rookie Minicamp Photos Day 2
After the Jets' third minicamp practice today, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer briefly met with a few reporters and was asked to deliver a progress report on Mark Sanchez. Pleased with the overall Sanchez body of work, Schottenheimer has been particularly impressed with the young passer's accuracy.
"We always give guys accuracy grades. I don't know the numbers off the top of my head, but they have been good," Schotty said. "They have been what you can definitely win with. That has been a positive."
The 6'2", 227-pound Sanchez, who trained under QB guru Bob Johnson, has a solid foundation from the ground up. While many folks are fascinated by arm strength, Schottenheimer says you can't throw well without good feet, proper balance and then solid weight transfer.
"He has very, very good footwork. He has quick feet. He's been well coached on it coming out of high school, even into college," Schottenheimer said. "He is ahead of the game of most college quarterbacks that I have been around in terms of footwork. That clearly gives him an advantage in terms of accuracy."
To test Sanchez right off the bat, Schottenheimer gave him and the rest of the offense the same installations he gave to the veterans just two weeks ago. The heady Sanchez, who has already displayed his blue-collar work ethic, hasn't been the least bit overwhelmed.
"He has the ability to retain a lot of information. He is working at it. He had the guys late last night [working on it]," said Schottenheimer, beginning his fourth season as Jets offensive coordinator. "It is not something that comes totally naturally to him. He has to work at it, which he is doing."
Even though Sanchez is a bright cookie, he never talks above anyone. Like any good leader, he can break things down and communicate effectively.
"He is just very natural, he is very comfortable in the huddle. You want a quarterback who is not robotic," Schotty said. "When a quarterback goes in the huddle, you don't want him to just sit there and repeat a play. There is more to it than that — you have to segment the play, you have to break it up. The formation comes first, then the play and then the cadence. You always want it to feel like there is a person, that there is a personality there."
The starting job will not just be handed to Sanchez. Kellen Clemens is entering his fourth year in Schottenheimer's system while the SoCal signalcaller completed his fourth NFL practice late this afternoon.
"We are three practices in and there are a few more things going in tomorrow. He has to go back and finish up things out there," Schottenheimer said before the Jets took the field. "Then we will get him back and it will be fun to watch these guys compete.
"Kellen did a good job. He has the head start and he is clearly ahead in terms of the system. Not that Mark is doing badly at all — he is doing well. But things that come natural to Kellen, Sanchez has to think about."
Sanchez, who threw 41 TD passes in just 27 games at Southern Cal, has enjoyed the constant communication with his new offensive boss.
"If they just let you go, you can't quite see the mistakes and verbalize them and talk them through," Sanchez says. "But after every play Coach Schottenheimer has grabbed me and sometimes I'll spit it out before he says it. I'll say, 'Ah, man, I've got to get the ball outside' or 'That was the right one, that was the right read on that.' So we just talk it over and get in agreement with each other. I am very comfortable with Coach and it's a good relationship."
Schottenheimer was not surprised to find out Sanchez had brought his teammates together Thursday evening to discuss Friday's installations. Part of the reason the Jets have such high expectations for Sanchez is that he has such high expectations of himself.
"He has a lot of pride. He understands that he is a professional quarterback," Schotty said. "I think he saw himself that way at SC, so I knew he would be prepared."