Mark Sanchez plays Monday Afternoon Quarterback after bad loss in Seattle
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez normally isn't available to the media on Mondays, but coming off the second offensive shutout of the season, the Jets' quarterback made an exception Monday. Sanchez called the red-zone interception he threw in the Jets' 28-7 loss to the Seahawks a "rookie move" and said he "fell short."
But the most important words about his recent play might have come out of Seattle, where Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who coached Sanchez at USC, was interviewed Monday on a local radio station. He laid the blame for Sanchez's decline on the two-quarterback system the Jets are using with Tim Tebow running the Wildcat offense.
"I think he's in a very difficult situation," Carroll said of Sanchez. "The whole emphasis of the two-quarterback thing is really hard. You saw it [Sunday]. It didn't get much for them. It's got to be a little bit disruptive. I feel for him."
Carroll called the Wildcat a "distraction" that is "confusing" to Jets fans. "It's mixed signals that go out," he said.
When Carroll's comments were mentioned to Sanchez, who spoke to the media at the Jets' practice complex in a teleconference, he said, "He's been around the game for a long time, so I respect his opinion. But it's on my plate, and it's my job to deal with it and I know I can handle it."
Sanchez called the Wildcat a "non-issue" that doesn't cause him to worry about his job. On the other hand, he didn't exactly give it a ringing endorsement.
Asked if the Wildcat is impacting the consistency of the regular offense, Sanchez referred the matter to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
"Uh, I don't know about that," Sanchez said. "At times, it's looked good. I think it got us a couple first downs yesterday. I'll defer to coach Sparano on that. It's really his call."
During his news conference, coach Rex Ryan reaffirmed his support for Sanchez as the starter when asked if he thought a change to Tebow might spark the Jets. But he wasn't willing to go the other way and scrap the Wildcat in favor of more consistency from Sanchez.
Ryan said the Wildcat "is part of what we do . . . We missed a few things execution-wise, and that was disappointing."
For the most part, Ryan blamed "self-inflicted wounds" for his team's poor offensive performances. Except for impressive wins against Buffalo and Indianapolis, the Jets' offense has produced a total of six touchdowns in the other seven games. Sanchez's completion percentage is a career-low 52.0 percent after three seasons of steady improvement.
It was suggested to Sanchez he might be putting pressure on himself to do more with fewer snaps and, therefore, forcing plays. "Uh, I don't know if that's why I made a couple bad decisions," Sanchez said. "Sometimes, you try to do too much, and that's where you can get in trouble."
After reviewing the game tape, Sanchez said it still came down to an interception he threw at the goal line with the game tied and a sack and fumble that led to Seattle's final touchdown. Explaining his decision to address the media on a Monday, Sanchez said, "I wanted to make sure I was available to speak for the offense and for my mistakes."
Having offered his mea
culpa, Sanchez then explained why he remains the Jets' best quarterback option. "I think this team knows that they have faith in me that I can make the throws, make the reads and make the right decisions with the football," Sanchez said. "I'm just not a self-doubter. I'm more confident than anybody. You've got to try and improve and know you're the best guy."