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Mark Sanchez Interview

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Courtesy NY Jets PR Department

Transcript of Jets QB Mark Sanchez’s interview during locker room media availability midday Thursday:

On today’s practice…

It was a good day, a red zone day. I got to take care of the football, I had a few completions. It was a lot better than last week and that’s the most important thing. [Offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer reminds me of that every day, as long as I’m progressing every day and working on a couple of little things, because they’re throwing everything at me as a rookie.

He knows that, he understands that, but he wants it to be fast, he wants it to be hard, he wants it to be difficult for me so I can think even faster/ and now I’m starting to get a few more completions every day. At the same time, he wants me to take care of the football. It was a good day overall.

On ending the practice on a high note…

It was important. During the first special categories period, I missed Dustin [Keller] wide open. He ran a great route, I made the right read, but my footwork was off. It’s important as a rookie to keep all of those things on the same page, get it all right, and then make it happen. That one miscue on the footwork really threw off our timing. It was totally my fault — he ran a good route.

To finish the way we did [throwing a touchdown at the end of practice] makes up for a lot and it helps. It’s a good way to end the week, but there’s a lot to learn from today so I will study that.

On the quirks of Rex Ryan’s defense…

I’m learning quite a bit about how different this defense is and how unique and special these athletes are. Obviously, they are pros and are unbelievably fast. The way they know this defense, it’s unconventional, it’s not the same things we learned at USC: This is your basic coverage this and that. This defense is all over the place.

That’s where you really need to start thinking on the fly, because nothing happens until the snap. They hold their disguises until very late and it’s great for a rookie. This is the way you want it. You want to be thrown into the fire right away. It’s tough and you want it to be tough. The defense is giving me that look and it’s only going to make me better.

On misreads and miscommunications during plays…

I think a lot of it was just the miscommunication, my ability to get the message out to the guys because it’s all new verbiage. You say one thing, right or left, and it could mess up the entire play. That’s on me, to keep studying and to keep getting better. It’s been a huge jump from last week, and Coach Schottenheimer, Coach Cavanaugh and all the coaches pointed that out. It’s been progress the entire time and that’s good, but miscues are supposed to happen from a rookie.

On the biggest challenge so far…

My biggest challenge is that we’re not running against a conventional defense. We get our reads and some of the plays are very similar to what I’ve known — from one to two to three to four and then take off and run or check it down. Those one to two to three to four don’t exactly happen right if you’re not playing a base defense, something very easy to see. It never happens like you see it in the classroom.

Coach Schottenheimer will tell us, “This is what’s going to happen in a Cover-2 and then a Cover-3,” and then we get out on the field and Bart Scott and the rest of the defense are running all over the place, undercutting balls, getting out of their zones to make a play because they’re reading my eyes. That’s the most difficult part, playing against such a good defense. It’s encouraging to us as an offense to know that we’re going to have that weapon during the season.

On trying to master the playbook…

That’s what this is all about. As frustrating as it is now, it’s difficult because you’re so new to it, trying to get acclimated. Coach Schottenheimer knows that I’m here late every night. That’s what I do, this is what I want to know. After practice today, I said, “Coach Schottenheimer, I want to know it, I hate not knowing it.” He said to me, “You’ve been here for four days. Don’t even worry about it. You’re getting there, you’re making progress and that’s the most important thing.”

It’s a grind and I love it. I’m getting there, and I want to master it by tomorrow, I want to master it 10 minutes ago, I’m already late — that’s how I feel. I’ll keep working and getting better.

On the OTAs helping him develop as a quarterback…

Absolutely. This defense is something special. It’s one thing to have a scheme like this. It’s unconventional. To have the players we have, the athletes we have, it’s pretty special. Lito Sheppard, Bart Scott, Kris Jenkins — they’re all over the place. That’s exactly what you want. It’s a good challenge every day. It’s a battle.

On seeing day-to-day improvements…

Just with the calls in the huddle, feeling more comfortable at the line of scrimmage. Every day it’s getting better. There are little things I’m starting to do now that kind of keep our defense off-guard a little bit to protect plays we have so I don’t give it away every time. That comes with just feeling comfortable and playing, and that’s something even Kellen [Clemens] and [Erik] Ainge are really helping me with, so I’m getting more and more comfortable as the days go on, and that’s the way I want it to be.

On Thomas Jones…

He’s the best. He’s a stud. I asked the guys about recognizing him. They said, “You’ll know it’s him when you see him.” He’s just massive, rocked up, chiseled. It’s huge to have a back like that, who demands that kind of respect in the running game. He said good luck with things and ask questions if I need to, and he’s been very open. It’s been great. It’s good to have him back.

On some people thinking he does too much off the field…

I think if you ask anybody in the building, they know what I’m all about. Whether it’s going to see a Broadway show or whatever, they know that on the weekend I’ll get a chance to be by myself but that day before we come back, I’m here all day. I’m grinding right now and people are going to get their own perceptions and think what they may, but this team drafted me to play football and that is my mindset.

On the perception of people who may think a young quarterback is too “unproven” to pose for GQ…

It’s OK. That’s for other people to judge and whatever happens there happens. The team drafted me for a reason. They know what I’m all about. We told the team in advance about the GQ thing. They didn’t have a problem with it. They knew I’d get a little razzing from the guys, as I should. It worked out perfectly and it was a few months back. I’m all about football now.

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