Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 8/17/12

Hey, it worked for Eli Manning last year and maybe it just could work for Mark Sanchez— tooting your own horn.

Maybe he isn't "elite" like Manning claimed he was last summer but Sanchez sounds like he wants the respect a starting quarterback with two championship games under his belt usually attains.

The other day, the New York Jets quarterback agreed with Bart Scott's assertion that Sanchez could be one of the top 10 NFL quarterbacks in the league. Yesterday, Sanchez took another big step forward before firmly planting it down by stating: "this is my huddle."



While some people still doubt Sanchez is even the best quarterback on his own team, maybe this is a sign the fourth-year starter is morphing into the leader the Jets so desperately need.

"One of the things I felt more comfortable doing, especially with the younger wideout group," said Sanchez, "was getting on those guys and letting them know when you come in the huddle, not to be selfish here, but this is my huddle. Don't talk. Name your position quickly and let's go."

The 25-year old's numbers may not say elite but the way he is conducting himself in camp is speaking volumes.

"Get lined up because there's a lot of stuff I need to go through to get us in the right position to be successful and Coach is expecting me to do that," Sanchez told his charges in the practice huddle. "If you're not on task, I'm going to get yelled at. I'm going to be standing there holding the ball."

While Sanchez admits his new found vocal leadership doesn't come naturally, he believes he is getting the hang of it.

"It's not the easiest thing to do," he said. "It's no necessarily my genetic makeup to just start yelling at guys. There's a time and a place to give somebody a hug and give them a chest bump and a high-five, and there's other times when you've got find the right ways to reach people. I think I'm really navigating that a lot better now.

"It's natural to have a little bit of emotion out there, I'm not a robot."

Sanchez may have puffing out his chest after Tim Tebow's final day at camp was an unmitigated flop. The "backup" quarterback's 11-on-11 stats on the day read: 2-for-10, 1 INT and 4 sacks. Did someone say Wildcat?

Still, it's getting the respect of the team that Sanchez so dearly wants and Darrelle Revis threw his vote to the incumbent.

"If we lose, it falls on Mark," said Revis, the defensive back and unofficial team leader. "If we win, it falls on Mark."

Sanchez probably couldn't think of a better compliment.




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