Mark Sanchez believes he'll return as Jets quarterback
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez still believes.
He believes in himself, in his abilities as a quarterback and in the Jets. He also believes he'll be back with the team in 2013.
"I just had a good talk with Rex [Ryan], and I know we're destined for great stuff here," Sanchez said at the team's facility Monday. "I know we can be successful here. That's what I'm focused on. I'm excited to come back next year and do my very best."
That's a long, steep hill for the 26-year-old quarterback, who took a week off and returned Sunday to the same ugly place he'd been for most of the season. Sanchez threw an interception, lost a fumble and failed to get the Jets into the end zone in a 28-9 loss to the Bills.
Ryan's return next season might help Sanchez, who was Ryan's big, bold statement during the first draft of the coach's tenure. But general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who oversaw trading up to the No. 5 spot to draft Sanchez in 2009, was fired Monday. The next GM might want to start searching for a more reliable quarterback.
Tony Sparano, the second offensive coordinator of Sanchez's four-year career, is likely to be let go, setting the stage for a new offense to be installed. Sanchez never adjusted to Sparano's offense. He finished with 18 interceptions, tied for second in the NFL, despite having nearly 200 fewer passing attempts than the quarterbacks ahead of him (Tony Romo and Drew Brees).
"There are some situations where I need to play better," Sanchez said. "There are some great plays and some great throws and then there were some not so good things. Those are the things I need to focus on this offseason and try and fix those and put us in a better position to take care of the football.
"It just wasn't my best. That's unfortunate because you don't want to let any of these other guys down. I have some stuff to prove and I know I can do it."
It remains to be seen whether the rest of the Jets think the same way.
"I think he just has to focus on football, man," Darrelle Revis said of Sanchez. "Don't get into the he-say / she-say and listening to outsiders and other things. It's all about being focused and playing what you love. This game is no different than when we played it when we were 7 years old. Just be positive and focus on football."
Sanchez might be able to do that better with Tim Tebow off the roster, which is expected to happen this offseason. Tebow declined to speak with reporters Monday, but Sanchez doesn't blame the fanfare of Tebow's arrival for his failures.
"I'm not going to make any excuses about anything like that," Sanchez said. "He worked his butt off while he was here and he tried to come in and help this team. That's all I'm going to say about that. He's a good teammate."