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Jets Mark Sanchez On Geno Smith

New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez spoke with the media on Thursday about the quarterback competition between him and Geno Smith.

On approaching the quarterback competition

Exactly that way, just compete, compete my butt off, try to improve every day, focus on the fundamentals, focus on getting better and focus on learning this system.

On if he expects to be with the team all year

Absolutely, thats where my heads at. Im competing to be the starter.

On what he will do to have a better season than last season

Just do my very best to learn this system, focus on fundamentals (and) compete with the other quarterbacks. We have a lot of talent in that quarterback room, so its an exciting time of the year and well just gear up, rock and roll and compete.

On the competition at quarterback

It falls right in line with what John Idzik talked about, bringing in competition at every position. But it also marries up with everything Ive been about my whole life whether it was in high school, college or making it to the NFL level, competing with other players and earning everything you receive in this league. Nothing is just given. You have to compete to earn it, so it will be fun.

On whether it took longer to put last season behind him

No more than any season, good or bad. You focus on what you can improve on, dont dwell on the negative too long, give its time and come back refreshed ready to go. Thats what weve all really tried to do.

On whether he comes into the season saying This is my team

Of course, every quarterback should feel that way. I know I do and Im not shy about voicing my opinion. You have to own it and compete your butt off to keep it in my position. Thats what Ill do and Ill do it the very best I can.

On the team waiving Tim Tebow

Those are team decisions. He was a great teammate, just like Darrelle (Revis). (He was a) great teammate. I enjoyed playing with him and I wish him the best.

On what he would say to the fans about the roster moves this offseason

Just to hang in there, stay well and get excited for this next season. I think theyre going to be thrilled to see what (Coach) Dennis Thurman, the defense and (Head Coach) Rex (Ryan) have to offer. (There is) a lot of new talent there (and) a lot of different players. Thats awesome. Weve acquired all those pass rushers (and) safety position guys. On offense, what (Coach) Marty (Mornhinweg) has in store. Special teams-wise, (Coach) Ben Kotwica, I have all the faith in him to take over where (Coach) Mike Westhoff left that position and they elevated Ben. Were excited about all three phases and were just going to compete our butts off and be the best team that we can possibly be.

On whether he has seen everything a competition can throw at him

I think Ive seen pretty much everything. So thats good. The more years you have, the more experience you gain and you just make sure you take all those experiences, bottle them up somewhere and save them. You know how to react to different situations as they come up, but well prepare and thats what Im going to keep on doing, preparing and competing.

On competing with the other quarterbacks

Sure, whether its (Matt) Simms, (Greg) McElroy, David or Geno (Smith), all those guys want to play and thats natural for a quarterback to want to play. Its different than a guard, tackle, receiver or defensive tackle, theres only one. So were all competing for that one spot. Were friendly about it, but at the same time its a fierce competition. Im excited about all those guys. Im excited about having them in the quarterback room with me. Well learn as much as we can from each other, compete our butts off and the best guy will play and hopefully help the team.

On whether he feels like this is his team

It has to feel that way going into your fifth year, at least thats how I feel. Im confident and I feel like weve seen just about everything you can see. So well just keep rolling and do our very best.

On fans who may be disappointed with the team and who boo him

Thats part of the game. They expect results.

On if he has had a meeting with Coach Ryan and Idzik to clarify his future with the team

No, they dont owe me that. Its up to them if theyd like to. Im free. Im here.

On whether he is wondering why they have not met with him

Not at all, they said publicly and privately multiple times that were competing for our jobs. I dont see why thats really a question.

On the team drafting another quarterback

Those arent my decisions. Its my job to roll with whatever happens and play the cards (Im) dealt. John Idzik is trying to field the best football team he can. He feels like Geno (Smith) should be a part of that team and thats fine. Now, Im going to compete with Geno and see whos the starter.

On whether he thinks he would be on the team if he was not owed guaranteed money

I have no idea, ask John (Idzik).

On whether he was disappointed when they drafted Smith

For what?

On whether he was disappointed that drafting Smith further infringed on his hold on the starting quarterback job

Hes going to come in here and compete. And if were competing for the job, Im going to do my very best to compete and I expect to play. Thats just the way I am.

On if he expects to be the opening day starter

Of course.

On if he still views himself as the future of the franchise


On whether he feels the front office views him as the future of the franchise

Ask them, I dont know.

On whether he is worried about how the front office views him

Im worried about me playing well, competing my butt off, being the starter, learning this offense, being the best teammate I can be, trying to lead the guys I can and other than that, its truly out of my control.

On whether he feels different describing his approach

I feel its just a more focused approach. Theres less to worry about.

On in what way is there less to worry about

Youre not hanging on the draft, watching, biting your nails like those first two years. I felt like Oh, I wonder who were going to get. Who cares? Theyre going to try to get this team better, bring in the best talent available on the board and do their job the best they can. For them, the draft is a third-and-five and theyre trying to convert. When its my turn to convert the third-and-five, Ill do that. So thats really my approach.

On whats at stake for him this year

Hopefully, winning a bunch of games, thats really all Im worried about.

On whether he feels its a make-or-break season for him

I feel like its that way every year. It should feel like that, at least, if you care about it, I think, in my opinion. Its an exciting time and Im thrilled to compete. It will bring out the very best I have and that will help my team.

On whether he expects to win the starting job

No doubt. Of course.

On the front office not declaring a quarterback competition last season compared to this season

Its a new general manager.

On whether there wouldnt be a quarterback competition if he performed better, even with a new general manager

I dont know. Ask John (Idzik). I have no idea.

On reports they spoke to him draft day about possibly taking Smith

Marty (Mornhinweg) told me. Thats why my brother (Nick Sanchez) said that, to clear that whole deal up. Marty just said, Hey man, were heating this thing up. Go win the job. Thats what youre going to do. Go win it, and compete, just like Geno is, just like David is and get ready to roll, keep doing what youre doing.

On whether Coach Ryan and the front office have been transparent about his situation

They said were going to compete and thats what were doing. They drafted a quarterback, so lets compete.

On whether Coach Mornhinweg talked to him before or after the draft

Actually both, he called and he said, You doing alright? (I said), Yeah, Im doing fine. Why? (He said), Oh, theyre giving you a hard time on TV. (I said), I wasnt even watching, should I be watching? Hes like, Wow, thats up to you. I dont know, just make sure youre hanging in there. (I said), Im fine coach, come on man, its part of the job. Then he called after. He just said, Hey man, were heating up the competition, you know that? We just took Geno. I said, Alright.

On whether Coach Mornhinweg gave him any inclination they were drafting a quarterback

No, my agent had a good idea. Dave had a good idea (and) my brother had a good idea just from people talking.

On what he worked on with Jeff Garcia

When did we show up, April 15th? Really a month before that, six weeks before that, three or four times a week, just getting down there and going over all of his old stuff that he used to have, whether it was with Marty (Mornhinweg) or any kind of West Coast terminology. Wed go out on the field and rep some of it. Wed watch a lot of his old games with Philadelphia (and) with San Francisco. Theres no substitute for that, just hearing the calls (and) hearing the terminology one time before you get here, it helps. I think it helps comprehend the system and digest the whole thing so I can spit it out quickly and confidently to the receivers as were out there four days a week.

On whether the work he did with Garcia was missing last season

I tried to do some of the same stuff with Chad (Pennington) last year, with him having played for (Coach Tony) Sparano, but Sparano wasnt the coordinator at the time (Chad was with him in Miami), so it was a little different. Jeffs been with Marty (Mornhinweg) at least two different times for a length of multiple seasons or at least multiple games, so thats big. Then Marty having the experience he has, a lot of those things carry over from even when Jeff was playing.

On his message to the fans that dont want him to be the starting quarterback

Thats okay. I cant worry about that. If you worry about stuff like that youll compromise what youre trying to do and thats compete. My only promise to them is (that I will) compete to the best I can and be the best possible quarterback and decision maker for this team. After that, well see what happens.

On why this could be his best season

Its one of those situations where theres a challenge for something that I hold very dear to my heart. (Something) that has really been my lifes goal, to play on this level and being a starting quarterback. When somebody challenges you that way, it really brings out your best and I dont see it being any different (inaudible).

On if he is concerned that he would be released before training camp

I cant worry about that. I havent even thought about it. Thats not even in my wheelhouse right now. If it happens, it happens.

On if there are enough reps for three quarterbacks to get a fair chance in an open competition

Ill let you know in camp.

On if he anticipates a fair opportunity for each quarterback

I assume so. Thats everything Ive heard. Unless, they want somebody to start and then it will be obvious, and the rest of the guys will know.

On having competition for the starting quarterback position after four years in the league

Its new management. John Idzik wanted every position to compete for their job, so the quarterback position is no different.

On Nick Mangolds comments that there is a different air about him this year

He just sees how focused I am. Hes seen me lead the fourth-quarter comebacks, hes seen me help win playoff games. He knows thats what I want, thats what I want for our team. He also knows what it takes to get there and what we had, those veteran teams with top-notch talent, (which) competed hard to get to those positions. We didnt just roll out of bed and end up in the AFC Championship game. I think he just sees a more focused version of me. A guy whose excited and not shying away from competition, I never have, its not in my makeup. Theres a little fire going and thats good, Im cool with that. I think its good for everybody.

On if he feels hes been treated unfairly by the team

Whos to say whats fair and whats not? Im not worried about that.

On Coach Mornhinweg reaching out to him after the team drafted Smith

That was very nice of him and he didnt have to do that. It really showed how much experience he has with this position, and he knows, one, how difficult it is to play, but (also), how much goes into it. That mental approach. I think he wants to cultivate that. I just feel a good vibe with Marty (Mornhinweg) and hopefully we get off to a good start, but well see.

On where he was when he heard the team drafted Smith

I think I was at home.

On if he was at his home in New Jersey


On his statements that acquiring Tebow wasnt a good situation for either one of them

If you were Tims agent or my agent, would you say thats the absolutely best position for either of us? Probably not. Tim wanted to play, I wanted to play, only one guy plays at this position. So I guess it wasnt the most advantageous, but thats the way things happen. We both competed (with) our best, tried to be the best of friends we could, and honestly under different circumstances we would be really good friends, its just hard when youre competing like that. Theres just a professionalism about it that you dont get too close to guys like that. Youre just professional, and youre cool and if the guy has a flat tire on the side of the road, Im going to stop, Im not just going to blow by him, but at the same time, Im not sending him gifts on his birthday or anything.

On if his relationship with Smith can be different than it was with Tebow

No, its the same. I dont see why it would be any different. I will help him out as much as I can, but when we have to compete, we have to compete, thats the way it goes.

On if hell mentor Smith

If he has a question, of course (Ill answer it), Im not going to be a jerk. Ive heard plenty of stories about guys like that, you know, they come in after your read and they say, Look at your book. Yeah, go look at your book, but if were on the field its not like you can run in and look at your book. Hey man, youre reading the flat defender high long. Curl flat, whatever. So what, I dont think thats going to hurt my chances of playing.

On if blames the team for creating the atmosphere last season

Sal (Paolantonio) had night-vision goggles, he was out there. (joking) They asked specifically about the attention Tim (Tebow) garners and in training camp, was it a distraction? So, thats why I said that. I dont feel bad for saying it. I didnt say it in a derogatory way. No hard feelings to ESPN, or Tim or the team, but the fact of the matter (is), nobody has ever done that before, I dont think. And there were only two teams that did it, the only two teams that were on TV. So, it was the way it was.

On if it was a good thing to have ESPN cameras at training camp

Whos to say? That doesnt matter, thats just the way it went.

On the offense and if it will help him become a better player

I think its quarterback friendly. I think the reads are simple, precise, they time up with the footwork really well. Its a proven system thats worked for decades in this league. I think Marty is one of the guys, not necessarily an originator, but a discipline of those original play callers, creators of this offense in Bill Walsh, Paul Brown and then you move on down the tree and they are all over the NFL, whether theyre coordinators or head coaches. But that kind of experience, just when he installs plays and talks about, whether its the easiest, quick-game route, hes talking about how Donovan (McNabb) like it, how Steve Young threw it, (how) Jeff Garcia would read it, things like that. It just feels good, hearing that from somebody who has been around the quarterback (position) a long time.

On how competing with Smith will be different from competing with Tebow

I dont know, well find out.

On if he feels his back is against the wall

I dont think so. I feel like, like I said, (that I am) back to square one. Lets work on our fundamentals and focus, really have attention to detail while were in here. Study this offense, know it forwards and backwards and then go out on the field and compete your butt off and see what happens. At the end of the day you can rest easy if you tell yourself you want to do that and youve done that.

On if part of his preparation is not to get too overwhelmed

Why worry about that? There are not enough hours in the day to worry about what fans are saying and what the media is saying (and) if this is my last chance. Thats too much. Just focus on the reads, focus on your footwork, let your play take care of itself and have fun doing it. Im the luckiest guy in the world.

On Coach Mornhinwegs offensive philosophy

From an offensive philosophy (and) philosophical standpoint, Martys like, we have possession of the ball after every play. Thats one of his key phrases. Were going to have possession of the ball after every play and dont lay it on the carpet and dont throw it to anybody else. Thats just his deal. I think it really is a mindset and hes alluded to that. In championship football teams, hes said it a million times, Just take care of the football. In a short three weeks or whatever its been, he said, Championships are won in the offseason and if you take care of the ball, well go a long way.

On whether he has enough playmakers in this offense to succeed

Of course, I think so.

On who he views as his top playmakers

All the guys on the team. Our top playmakers, at receiver, we have (Jeremy) Kerley, we have Stephen Hill who looks healthy, he looks great. At tight end, (Dustin Keller) is gone, but (Jeff) Cumberland is ready to step up. Hayden Smith looks sharp for a second-year football player ever, he looks awesome. I think Konrad (Reuland) is doing very well. He made a lot of strides (and) hes finally healthy. Then at the running back spot, we acquired Chris Ivory, we have Bilal Powell, we have Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight. We have Lex (Hilliard) at fullback. You want me to keep going? All those guys.

On why he did not mention Santonio Holmes

Hes not here yet. Hell be here in a couple days. Hes finishing school.

On his long hair

Its my inner soccer player deal. My hair is getting long. Im going to donate it at some point if I can last. Well see.

Source: New York Jets Media


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