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Post image for Mark Sanchez Interview Transcript 10/13/11

Mark Sanchez Interview Transcript 10/13/11

by Tyson Rauch on October 13, 2011

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

On what the team needs to do to turn things around…

I think some of the execution stuff has to be better. The throwing and catching, we’ve got to be better than we were. And trying to start faster on offense has been a big push this week. But we did well in the red zone, that was a big concern for us last year and we really improved that, so now it’s a matter of converting on third downs and giving ourselves more opportunities to make more plays on offense. So, we’re right there, we’re right there in all these games, and we played three good teams in a row. We lost, unfortunately, three in a row, but this team is ready to bounce back and we get a good one at home this week.

On if this offensive system can be successful…

Absolutely. I think if we convert a couple of those third downs, who knows what happens on the rest of the drives. Then we’re sitting here at 3-2 and everybody is saying, ‘Wow, they really turned it around.’ So you lose a couple games in a row and of course people want to question the system and the coaching staff or players, whatever it is. But this is basically the same group and the same system that has gotten us to back-to-back AFC Championships. We’re just not executing very well. And that’s on me as a leader to assert myself and make sure we’re doing the right things.

On coming up with new rituals to improve third down and first quarter performance…

I think part of it was a mindset. Just like we improved our red zone efficiency, it’s a mindset. You get in the red zone, you have to score. That’s where you make your plays and get points. Well, on third down and early in the game, we need to convert those third downs, and when we do, it just gets us off to a better start. You go three-and-out three, times in a row, the other team’s defense gets a lot of confidence and you start second guessing things. Maybe we should have done this, maybe we should have done that. If you convert those, you’re sitting there feeling good, extending drives and that’s what our team needs to do.

On if there are cracks and divides in the locker room…

Not a chance. Not this group.

On how it was to play with Jason Taylor…

He was great. (Jason Taylor) was a real professional about the way he went about his business, about the way he interacted with other players on the team. He was respectful with the trainers and equipment staff. He was the ultimate pro. We loved having him, and it’s going to be fun to face him. We’ll be excited to see him before the game and then during the game we have to get after him, we have to block him. Then after the game just say, ‘Good luck and stay healthy,’ but hopefully we win this one.

On what he has seen from the Dolphins defense…

I think they’re a multiple front (team), they’re all over the place. They’ve done their three-down stuff, their four-down stuff. They move around quite a bit in the back end. Some of their guys have been hurt (like) Vontae Davis, but we’re expecting him to be back and healthy and ready to go. Him, along with Sean Smith, those are two really good corners, some of the best in our division, some of the best in the league. So we need to play well. They’re searching for a win just like us right now. And a win for either team puts that team in a better situation than they are now, so we need to play our best.

On expecting blitzes from a Mike Nolan defense…

Sure, he’s known for that. But whatever it is, we need to have our hot throws ready. I need to be ready to get rid of the ball and Nick (Mangold) and I have to be in tune on the protections and keep the wideouts incorporated, and make sure we know where the pressure is coming from, what our answers (are) and how to block it up if we need to.

On the Derrick Mason trade…

Guys haven’t talked too much about it. We respect Derrick Mason and we wish him, obviously, the best. And that’s something that was between him, Coach (Ryan) and Mr. Tannenbaum. So, I didn’t get involved with it too much, but we obviously want to wish him the best. Last week (Jeremy Kerley) stepped up big and really had a great game, so we’re expecting an even bigger role from him, and he has to play.

On if there was a message sent by the Mason trade…

I don’t know about that, you’d have to ask Rex that. I don’t know.

On how much a win against the Dolphins would mean right now…

It’s big. We want to get a win this week, just like every week. The important thing isn’t to press (or) change what we do. Just improve on some subtle things and it’ll make a world of difference.

On playing on Monday Night Football…

We’re excited to play on a national stage. I feel like most of the time we play our best that way. We have to come out on fire, we have to play well and start the game off fast, finish it strong, sustain drives, and execute on offense and take care of the football. It’s going to be a good matchup.

On if the offense took strides forward last week…

Absolutely. The run game got going. We got one drive with that long kickoff return, so we only rushed for 97 yards or whatever it was, but it felt like a lot more. We were moving the chains well, especially when we converted on third down. So that was a big emphasis from last week moving forward. But I definitely think there were great strides in protection and in the run game.

On getting off to a faster start…

It’s a mindset for us. Those first few third downs we need to convert, sustain drives, scoring drives. That first offensive possession is huge for us and we’d love to come out and do that. It sets a good tone for the team, it sets a tempo for the game and I know we have the guys to do it, we just need to come out fast and start fast.

On asserting himself and what that entails…

Just keeping guys excited. It’s easy when you’re 2-3 to let things slip and think, ‘Well, maybe we’ll work on it tomorrow or we’ll get it right in the game’. No, we have to do this right in practice, let’s re-run that play, re-load it. Start over and get the right look and things like that. Then part of it is demeanor. You can’t practice like you’re 2-3. You can’t practice like that. We have to practice like we’re 5-0 and things are going right. It’s an attitude thing. That’s where my big focus is, just staying positive because I know we’re so close. We turn around a couple of those games and we’re sitting here with one loss and everybody is thinking, ‘Man these guys are the team they said they were, the team they know they are’. So that’s kind of the way it goes, but we need to improve and we need a win.

On if there were chemistry problems or communication issues with Mason…

No, I thought the trade was Rex’s decision and Mr. Tannenbaum’s decision, and I’m not going to get into a relationship thing with Derrick and I. But I obviously respect him as a player and I want to wish him the best. But, we saw Kerley play last week, he got a big role last week and did well in his role. So that’s kind of the way that we’re headed.

On Ryan talking about him potentially changing up his pregame habits…

I guess he’s just talking about routine and stuff. We just have to convert a couple of third downs. Whatever it takes to get to that point, we’ll do. I’m happy with my routine and we just have to be better early in the game.

On if he has changed his routine at all…

Not too much, just going through my warmup and getting prepared for the game. We all just need to execute. So, I don’t know if it’s a routine thing or not.

On criticism from figures like Joe Namath…

That’s a part of this job and that’s what you sign up for playing in New York. If you can handle the praise and everything going well, playing in the AFC Championship Game, beating the Patriots in the Divisional Game and playing well, you have to be able to handle the flipside. And when things don’t go right, you’re still the guy that takes the praise or the blame. That’s the way it goes. I just need to play better and help these guys execute.

On if there is a part of him that goes out there trying to prove doubters wrong…

I’m not worried about proving anybody right or wrong. I’m worried about playing for these guys on the team and playing well for the players in this locker room. It’s not about setting the record straight. That’s the last thing on my mind. I’m worried about getting completions, taking care of the football and I thought we made great strides in that last week, we just need to do it earlier.

On any particular things he has gotten better at this season and any particular things he still has not improved on…

I hadn’t anticipated losing three games this early, but we’ve played a lot better at home, that’s for sure. We’ve played a lot better in the red zone. Without the one interception in the red zone, I’ve probably played the best in the red zone I’ve played since becoming a pro. There’s constantly footwork stuff you want to finely tune. Getting completions earlier in the game, that has to be a premium right now and then converting on third down, we just need to improve on that.

On all of the focus about the offense needing to have an identity…

I felt like our identity the last couple of years was just winning. That’s what New England’s identity is right now, and I think that’s what we’re looking for, just a couple of wins. We rattle off a couple of wins in a row, all the criticism and doubt, that stuff kind of fades away and guys are confident again and ready to play. I’m not too worried about it.

On the challenge of having to come back from a slow start on the field…

I don’t know. I think we’re working through just a tough experience. Three tough road losses, that’s no fun and it’s not easy, but it’s a good test for us. It really is a good test for this team to see how we’re going to bounce back. I know we have the talent to do it and I know we have the coaching to do it. We have to work and practice. I thought we had a great day today. We have to build off today, build off of last game, get a little bit better on third down and we’re right there.

On how much this team needs this win on Monday night…

I feel like we just need to improve just a little bit and the wins are right there. We’re right in these games. Other than the Ravens game, we haven’t been blown out. We’re right in these games and we have kind of found a way to lose, where last year we really found a way to win. That’s the difference. It’s so small. It’s one completion here or there. It’s one turnover here or there, a block, a tackle, a throw and a catch and we’re right in this game. Must-win, need a win, whatever you want to call it, we just want to win the game.

On if he thinks he can carry a team at this stage in his career…

It has to be my focus and whatever these coaches ask me to do, I need to be ready to do that and execute that game plan. I loved last week’s game plan. I thought we did well in it, other than a couple of third downs early, but I need to be able to shoulder the load and prepare each week like this is the best game plan we have, and it usually is, so I’ll be ready to go.

On whether he has confidence in himself that he can carry the load…

Whatever it takes, our offense will be ready for that. Whether it’s throwing it, running it, I don’t want to say too much there.

On how he handles being pressured more this season…

Just try to get the ball out as soon as possible and try to take the pressure off the guys up front with a good running game. We’re getting back to our running game. I think early completions are huge for us and not passing up easy completions is important. We’re all getting better with it. It’s a physical game, so some years you get hit more than others, well that’s fine, but you have to keep fighting, keep standing in there, hanging in there and trust those guys up front.

On what his preparation is like on game day now…

You lose three games, people are searching. Everybody wants an answer. Everyone wants one thing that you can fix and the one thing we can fix from last week is getting better on third down. But that means we’re going to have to play as well as we did in the red zone, to do as well as we did running and better, those are the things we need to focus on. Our routine, we know our routine. If we win these last three games, nobody is questioning anything, so I’m not too worried about that.

On why they have struggled against Miami over the last two seasons…

They have had good teams. They always play well against us. It’s a good rivalry and I think it’s always a physical game. I’m trying to think, last year, the game at home, we played so poorly on offense. We couldn’t stay on the field. We couldn’t convert on third down. We couldn’t convert in the red zone and we put a lot of pressure on our defense in that one. We won the first one. Then, the year before, we had the two kick returns or whatever it was and went down in that one before the bye week. Then, (there was) the Monday night thriller (where) they came down and won at the end, so they’re always close games, tough, hard-fought games. We kind of found a way to lose a couple of them. There is nothing wrong with starting fast this week and playing well on offense. Taking care of the football, that’s going to be huge, and hopefully, get a win here.

On Jeremy Kerley…

He’s done a great job. He works hard. He really does. He studies. He wants to learn. He wants to be a part of the game plan. He’s excited to play and he’s excited to practice, more importantly, than just playing on Sunday. I’m really proud of his development. The guy has no regard for his body. He will just go up and make a catch for you and sell out all the way. (He is) the ultimate team player (and) a heck of a rookie player. We’ll bring him along nice and easy and not put too much on his plate because he has a lot going on (with) special teams.

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