Mark Sanchez Interview Transcript 8/24/11


On Wednesday New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez addressed the media.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

On if the game against the Giants is going to be special…

It’s a city rivalry and something that we take seriously here and you want to win the city, you want to win your division and you want to win the Super Bowl. So that is one of our goals each year, whether we play in the pre-season or in the regular season; this year we do it both times. We would love to play well both games and hopefully win them both, but we have a lot of work to do as a team and from a defensive standpoint, I saw they lost Terrell Thomas last week, a USC guy, so that’s a big blow for them, but they will recover I’m sure and have some good guys up front and they look tough.

On how last week was a good “dress rehearsal” for Dallas…

This is a good warm up for Dallas. We need to play well through half time, maybe the third quarter, but that’s the way it’s gone the last two years. You play into the third quarter and we get to work a lot of different situations, maybe another two minute drill, hopefully a couple redzone situations and third downs, maybe goal line stuff. It’s a good opportunity for our team to rep those situations and be comfortable with them by the time we play on September 11th.

On the first-team offense…

I think we are coming along. We made a push in these last couple of days especially with the preseason games, you finally get to see another defense, get to see, as basic as it might be in the preseason, it’s still a different defense so it’s a little more exciting than playing your own team. After a week, it kind of gets old playing our defense. Those guys are so good it’s frustrating at times. The offense came along slowly but surely and we made a good push the last couple of weeks.

On what he is looking for from the first-team offense on Saturday…

I think getting ahead of the sticks on first down (is important). We were second-and-long almost all night against the Bengals. You look at our third-down conversions and it wasn’t where we should be, but it’s because we did so poorly on first down, whether it was an incompletion or a run for negative yards. That hurts. Second-and-long is hard. It really handcuffs the offense and it lets the defense do whatever they want. If we can just get to second-and-medium (or) second-and-short, it gives us a lot of opportunities on offense to play well and, hopefully, get a third-and-manageable.

On what the meaning of this week is to Plaxico Burress…

Well, he’s excited, but he’s a pro, and he’s done this for so long that he won’t have any distractions. He’s excited he’s understanding the offense really well and starting to find his groove. So, we’ll support him in any way we can, and we know a game like this has extra meaning, but each week, it’ll be something. Whether it’s Plax or Santonio, or somebody playing a former teammate, or Coach Ryan coaching against his brother, Rob, there’s something every week. So, you just help those guys that week, make sure they’re focused, and go out and play.

On whether he has any concerns about Burress tweaking his back…

I don’t have any concerns. He’s fine.

On his relationship with Dustin Keller and how it helps on the field…

Off the field, we’re great friends. (I) had a blast at his wedding this summer. He’s one of those guys that you love to be around. He’s got a great family, his brothers are around a lot. So, I know him really well off the field. That helps when you get on the field. We always know that even in those tough situations when we’re upset at each other, or I miss a throw or he misses a catch, it’s never personal. We’re just trying to win, and it helps when you have that off-the-field chemistry, too. On the field, he’s grown in his route-running ability, he has all of the physical tools, he has great hands, he’s got speed, he’s got size and he’s really learning how to block well, and his routes are getting better by the year, and by the practice. So, he’s made it a point to really seek me out outside of meetings, “Hey, let’s sit down and watch this,” or, “What are you thinking on this specific route?” I remember when we had this (play) in the playoffs last year, “Why’d you look that way, instead of this way? What can I do?” If it’s just tagging, saying his route before we break the huddle, trying to remind me that there’s not just three really good receivers, there’s a good tight end, too. He’ll do stuff like that, too, one, to mess with me, and two, to try and get the ball.

On what his relationship with Eli Manning is like…

We’ve talked, I guess, sparingly, but most of the time, it’s either at a charity event or something at the Super Bowl, unfortunately, neither of us have been playing in it. We see each other doing promotional stuff, whether it’s for Toyota or for whoever, but it’s always good, we’re always cordial. I saw him at a benefit with (Mark) Brunell, I took Brunell as my date (laughing). He was there with his wife and daughter, I believe, so they were great, seems like a great family. We’re not best buds or anything. There’s nothing wrong with it, we’re just not that close that way.

On whether he was impressed by Burress’ performance against the Bengals…

I don’t know, I think it’s kind of what we expected. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. He’s a great player, and that’s just what you expect. The other thing was, to me, everything came out so positive from that game, but there’s still plenty of stuff to work on, and it’s a preseason game, and we’re playing a Cincinnati game that didn’t have Keith Rivers, that pulled a lot of their starters pretty early. Sure, we won the game and that’s great, but that’s not anything to hang your hat on. We still have a lot to prove.

On whether there was any significance to him wearing a “FDNY” shirt…

Sure, if you guys remember the Muze clothing company. They made that “Wonder Boy” shirt that I wore a couple of years ago that got pretty popular. So, we teamed up again, and we’re helping a charity here in New York, right around 9/11 time and this 10-year anniversary. We wanted to make a shirt that we could sell online and all of the proceeds would go to the New York Police and Fire Widows & Children’s Benefit Fund. So, we’re selling it on the Facebook Pro Shop site, so it’s Facebook.com/OfficialMarkSanchez and then for the benefit fund, it’s AnswerTheCall.org, and basically, we’re selling shirts and all the proceeds are going to the widowed families of these rescue workers and first responders. So, it was a cool idea that Muze kind of came up with. The FDNY let us use their logo and saying, “You go, we go.” So, I’m happy to be a part of it. It’s a cool-looking t-shirt, so I’ll be wearing it. Hopefully I’m not the only one.

On whether it is special to play the regular season opener on September 11…

No question. My dad, obviously is a firefighter, but my stepmom’s daughter’s husband, so like a step-brother-in-law, like a brother-in-law, is a firefighter, also, and he’s up in Oakland, Michael Donner. He’ll be out here that week. Their celebrating, doing some stuff with firefighter rescue workers that they met and have been friends with for 10 years now. And then having my dad here, the firefighters I’ve met, whether it was somewhere around the city or firefighters back in Orange County that I know, it’s an exciting time. That week it’s Rex (Ryan) vs. Rob (Ryan), Jets/Cowboys, and 9/11, so there’s going to be a lot going on. As much as we want to respect that anniversary, we need to stay focused for the game and honor that 10-year anniversary with a great performance, hopefully.

On the most challenging part about trying to score in the red zone…

I think it’s just the same thing, and one, not to get too caught up in it, sometimes we build it up, now it’s like, “We haven’t been good in the red zone, we have to do something.” That doesn’t mean you have to do something big. It could mean a four-yard run on first down. It could mean, complete a flat route to LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) and watch him break a tackle and run for six yards. That’s fine, that’s a victory, just getting something positive on first down, and then getting into a third-and-manageable, having our checks and alerts up when (teams) all out pressure us, and be ready to play. Other than that, we have weapons, we have a big target in Plax (Plaxico Burress), we have a slot guy in Derrick Mason, who really knows how to do well in the red zone, and Santonio, I mean, that’s all the guy does, is find the ball in the air and get in the end zone, so we have all of the tools. It’s important not to get too caught up in it.

On what Mason does in the red zone that makes him dangerous…

It’s one of those situations where obviously, the defensive backs, they know there’s less field to cover, so as a receiver, just being fast doesn’t help down in the red zone, you’ve got to know spacing, you’ve got to understand what concept you have on, understand the coverage and really be able to read the defense on the fly and those are all his strong suits. So he’s quick, he’s shifty, he knows how to screen a defender away, and keep his body in between the ball and the defender, and that’s what you need. He’s one of those guys who knows how to make a big catch, he’s got great hands, a solid receiver, so he can be a great help for us.

On whether he is looking forward to practicing at Hofstra tomorrow…

It’s great. You get a lot of fans on Twitter and people you see in passing in the city or in New Jersey, wherever, “I’m from Long Island, I wish you guys were still out here.” So this is kind of us paying respect to them and thanking them for being great fans for such a long time. Sure, we moved to New Jersey, but that’s still our home over there too, so we’re excited to go back.

On Santonio Holmes’ catch in practice yesterday…

It was sweet. That was a sweet catch, oh my God. I called my brother right after practice, I thought it was better than the Super Bowl catch that he had a couple of years ago, I thought it was better than the Houston Texans catch. It was sick. Even guys on defense looked like, “Man…” You get a guy who does that in practice, it’s no surprise why he can do it on game day. There was no communication about that, that was something that just kind of happened, and the last play of the game and he makes a huge catch, so that’s pretty cool.

On whether he purposely underthrew the ball…

Yeah, just kind of led him. Everything was jumbled up there in the middle and it was the last play of the game so you either throw a jump ball for somebody and hope it works or you just wait for Tone (Santonio Holmes) to move around somewhere and find a hole, but that’s something Derrick Mason can do, that’s something Plax can do, and having all of them back at one time will be nice.

On what has been his best throw of camp so far…

Let me think. Maybe the one completion against Revis is like a little victory. Kind of went like 1-for-50 (against Revis).

On whether he is bothered by Revis in practice…

Darrelle? Heck no (joking). It’s good because you get to really work against a solid corner. You got to be perfect. A lot of times it’s where your guy can get it or nobody, and your guy’s going to have to make a good catch to secure the football and get a completion. So, it’s a good test for us every day in practice and when you play that premier corner on the other team, you’ve had good work at it all week, and it gives (Antonio) Cromartie a lot of work, too, so he’s looking really good.

On whether he’s noticed Kyle Wilson’s improvement…

He’s done a much better job. One of the things that I noticed right away, at the beginning of camp, it might have been just day one or that first week, just the way he communicates on defense. He’s talking a lot more, and last year he was so quiet. You tend to get that way, I’m more vocal, obviously, at the line. I’m understanding coverages and stuff, so it’s just natural to want to talk to Nick (Mangold) and remind guys what they have going on. Well, he’s the same way. Before, you’d try to pick on Kyle, and understand exactly what they’re doing on defense, and he’d kind of give it away. You can’t help yourself, you don’t want to be wrong and you’re new, so you’re just looking inside, and you’re supposed to be pretending to cover a receiver, but you’re looking inside, looking inside, and it’s obvious he’s coming on a blitz, so we’d adjust the protection, and you’d send Wayne Hunter out there and he’d just knock him over. That’s what happens (in your) rookie year. Well, now, he’s moving around in the slot, him, and Dwight Lowery and Jim Leonhard. They’re all like the same player, moving all over the place, so it makes it a lot more difficult, and so he’s come through a couple of times clean and just totally fooled us. He’s having a great camp and he’s a first-round pick, he’s supposed to be a stud. And we saw flashes of it last year and now he’s starting to be more consistent, so he can really help us in the slot, and he’s got great help around him.

On being compared to Eli Manning…

That’s okay. That’s fine. And in our division you’re compared to (Tom) Brady, and guys who have done it before, who have been successful. He’s won a Super Bowl, so that puts him in that category and (gives him) a certain status. There’s a lot to live up to in this town, whether it’s on your own team, or a crosstown rival. There’s always going to be a Joe Namath comparison, an Eli Manning comparison, a Tom Brady comparison. So, that’s the world we live in, playing for the Jets and being the quarterback. I respect him a lot. I think he’s got great feel for the game. He’s definitely a leader on that team, and they all look to him to make plays in crunch time, and in crucial situations, and he does that. He’s put up big numbers, and we have a lot of respect for him.


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