Well, I’ve delayed writing about the New York Jets for as long as possible. Now that Jets training camp is officially here, it’s time to prepare myself for what I expect to be an excruciatingly long and painful season. I’m not going to breakdown the Jets’ issues and what they need to address as they begin training camp. There’s enough of that on the net. Instead, I’m going to share my reactions to a few of Mark Sanchez’s responses during yesterday’s time with the media. Thanks to JetNation.com for posting the transcript.
On if this training camp has a new feel to it with the competition…
No, it feels good. It reminds me a lot of my rookie year. Coming in, competing for a job, and rookie duties. I’m holding recorders. But I’m excited. I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to get back with the team and signing Braylon (Edwards) yesterday is big for us I think. But there’s just good energy about this place and we love coming here. We love the town of Cortland and SUNY Cortland I think there’s no better place to have camp, so we have a great time.
Um Sanchez, you’re in your fifth season. You’re a fifth year starter, presumably. A veteran. At this stage of your career, you should be in a leadership role, not carrying recorders like some flunkie. Why don’t you get that?!!!
On if he is approaching this camp differently than years past…
Just focused and excited. I’m rooming with (Nick) Mangold so that will keep me sharp (laughter). This is the first year I’ve roomed with Nick. He’s usually with Brandon Moore, so that’s different. I don’t think we picked room assignments. I definitely would not have picked Nick, no, I’m just kidding. Nick’s the man, he’s a great dude. So I’m excited to room with him and excited for this whole experience. I’m excited to see some of our new coaches and how they interact with a place like SUNY Cortland with Coach Lee and Coach Mornhinweg and see what they think. I’m sure they’ll be pleased.
What? Sanchez’s response is so far left from the question posed that I don’t even know what to say. It reminds of me every post game conference from last season. No matter how poorly he played, he always laughed it off and downplayed every single unforced error he made. How can he not provide a more meaningful answer to a simple question about his approach to camp?
On if he thinks the Jets have sufficient talent to be a playoff team…
I think so. I mean, we’re going to build the best possible team we can here first and see where that takes us. But as far as the playoffs go, we’re going to be working as hard as possible, as efficiently as possible, and I know we have some serious playmakers on this team and we’re going to see them perform here first. (We’ll) build the best team we possibly can. I think Mr. Idzik and Coach Ryan have done a great job of assembling the best team possible and we’ll do our very best. That’s what we’ve got up here and build our best team.
I’ll cut him some slack on this answer because he has to keep things positive. This is one of the rare occasions where honesty is NOT the best policy. But since he couldn’t say it, I’ll say it for him. No, the Jets don’t have sufficient talent to be a playoff team. Obviously, winning the division is out of the question, so the real goal is winning a wild card spot. The AFC is competitive as hell, and the Jets can’t compete with its current roster of talent. Period. And who are these “serious playmakers” he’s referring to? Santonio Holmes? No, can’t be because he’s on the PUP list. Braylon Edwards? I’ll believe it when I see it. Darrelle Revis? Oh right, he’s in Tampa Bay now. Yeah, I got nothing.
On how confident he is that he will win the starting job…
I feel good about my ability. I’m confident in my ability. I love playing the position. I feel comfortable up here and had some of my best practices up here so this place is like a second home. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to go compete and play my best.
On how he has gotten better this offseason…
I think working with this system has only helped develop my skillset even more and I just feel calm when I’m listening to Marty (Mornhinweg), when I’m watching film with him, with Coach Lee, they’re so experienced. I feel like they just do their very best to put you in a good situation. And relying on my experience, working hard on the fundamentals with Coach Lee. All those things will come together and help me be the best I’ve been.
Best thing he’s said so far: “working hard on the fundamentals.” It’s a lot disheartening that a fifth year starter (presumably) is going back to the basics, but hey, if that’s where they have to start with him, which it is, at least he’s acknowledging it.
On his confidence in Coach Ryan given his uncertain future beyond 2013…
Well, look, all we’re worried about is this season anyway. I know Rex can get the job done. We’ve been on a couple playoff runs together. I’ve seen him really grow as a head coach and a person. (He) just does his very best. He expects the best out of us and he promises his best and that’s all you can ask for out of a head coach. He’s a guy that can get guys energized and excited about what we’re doing and that’s not always easy as a head coach especially when it gets hot up here in camp, the dog days of camp, they start to drag on. Rex is there to switch things up, to make things fun, to make sure we remember that we’re very fortunate to be in this situation and make the most of it.
And there in lies the problem. Rex is not there to make things fun. The Jets are coming off of a horrific season. From top to bottom, everyone in the organization has tons to prove. Nobody has earned the right to have fun. Nobody. I hope Rex approaches camp with a lot more seriousness than he’s known for because this is also a do or die season for him.
On if his leadership role has changed with the loss of some of the older veterans…
I think a lot of the core veteran guys we have here aren’t very outspoken, and there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t always have to have the rah-rah guy all the time. I think a lot of guys, especially the young rookies, they don’t say much, they just follow what you do. And if they are following the core leaders we have in this group I am confident they are going to be good players, and they will see how to develop good habits as a professional. So I am confident in our group and I know that core leadership is there.
The correct answer should be that his leadership role has changed for the better. That rookies and younger guys respect him for what he contributes on and off the field. But when you’re competing against a rookie for a starting role, it’s a little difficult to own that role, I guess.
On if he takes the low expectations as an insult…
It honestly doesn’t affect what we do here. Like I said it’s our job as that core group of leaders to make sure guys are on track. To put your blinders on, go to work, have fun up here in camp with the guys on the team. You know, concern yourself with matters about football, about the New York Jets, about our locker room. You know, get to know your other players, build the best team we possibly can, don’t forget the experiences we have had up here and go take that to the field during preseason and the regular experience. So the outside expectations don’t bother us at all.
The onslaught of negativity reported by the media can be a distraction. So, Sanchez has the right idea about not giving the media too much power over him. But as a competitor, the low expectations should anger and motivate him to prove the naysayers wrong. I’m not sure that’s the case based on his response.
On if he felt the need to say anything to Geno (Smith) about not attending Jets West Camp…
No, not at all. Things are business as usual. We’re competing our butts off and going through practice and everything is great.
Yeah about that. I don’t blame Geno for skipping Jets West. If I were him, I wouldn’t be pressed to learn from a guy that is competing for the same job as me, either.
On having Braylon (Edwards) back…
It’s great. I saw his little video to the fans on Instagram (laughing) which was pretty funny. It’s great to have Braylon. He’s always smiling, always having a good time, a great personality for any team and selfishly I’m happy he’s back.
Really? He’s a great personality for any team? Hmmm, because of this and this, I seem to recall things differently, but ok.
On having Santonio (Holmes) by the beginning of the season…
You know that is something I will leave to the doctors, but I know he is doing everything he possibly can. That was one of the reasons he didn’t make it out to Jets West. He was doing so well with his rehab they wanted to keep him on schedule. If anyone can get him back for the season it is our doctors and our trainers and if not then we will roll from there.
Well, I’m no doctor, but the season is seven weeks away. As of two days ago, Holmes still wasn’t even putting pressure on his foot. He was talking about how difficult it’s been to learn to walk again. That’s a significant indication of where he is in his rehab process. How is he going to go from barely walking to running and cutting on a field in seven weeks? It’s possible, I suppose, but the experienced and realistic Jets fan in me thinks Holmes will likely start the season on the PUP list and subsequently miss the first six weeks of the season because well…we’re the Jets.
On Edwards’ support of him and if it affects the quarterback competition…
I know the coaches will make the right decision for the team. I am just going to do my very best. I know Braylon and I have a great rapport so that never hurts, but I am confident that the coaches will pick the best player and I am confident with my ability to be the best player.
Between Edward’s drops, age, drops, injuries, and drops, there are only two reasons I think the Jets re-signed him. One, to act as insurance if Holmes is out for an extended period of time. And two, to give Sanchez another security blanket. He and Edwards have a good rapport. Braylon’s actually one of the very few Sanchez supporters. That can’t be ignored. Hopefully, this will give Sanchez a psychological boost as he competes. Although, ‘real’ quarterbacks can perform regardless of who their receiving corp is comprised of, but I digress.
Overall, I was disappointed with many of Sanchez’s responses. Most of them were too casual for my liking. For once I’d like to hear some desperation out of him. It’s a new season and he’s trying to project a confident and positive attitude, but his job is on the line, and the sense of urgency from him seems to be lacking. Still. Also, I wish he spoke in more specific terms about what he needs to improve upon. Up until now, he’s talked a good game by keeping things general when addressing what he and the offense need to do to reach the next level. But, talk is cheap, and whether Sanchez knows it or not, things are about to get really real for him. Hope he’s ready!
How do you feel about Sanchez’s responses? Do you believe in him or do you think we should see what Geno Smith is made of? Let me know in the comments!
image via CBSSports.com