Mark Sanchez says he's not worried about losing job
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- In Mark Sanchez's eyes, Tim Tebow is no different than any other backup quarterback who has sat beside him in the meeting room.
For that reason, the Jets' starting quarterback said he's not preoccupied with looking over his shoulder.
"I don't feel threatened to lose my job at all," Sanchez said Thursday. "It's no different whether it's Tim or [Mark] Brunell or Kellen [Clemens]. It doesn't change. I'm really not worried about it."
Sanchez again found himself defending his status as a team leader, as he and his teammates prepare for their Monday night game against the Texans (4-0).
The Jets' offense has been inconsistent, and their defense has been subpar. But in the midst of key injuries and ever-growing chants for "Tebowtime," Sanchez remains, at least publicly, self-assured -- not only in himself, but in the team's ability to prove this season is not a lost cause.
"Nobody expects it to work, nobody expects it to go right, nobody expects us to win. That's fine. It's fine," he said. "I've been in situations like that before. I'm confident I can handle it and there's only one way in my mind to go about it, and that's really to attack it."
The fourth-year quarterback has a league-low 49.2 completion percentage, but that's partly because his receivers haven't consistently been healthy or fought to get open and run routes properly. And now the loss of Holmes and the lingering hamstring injuries of tight end Dustin Keller and rookie wideout Stephen Hill force Sanchez to rely on an unproven group.
Oft-injured Chaz Schilens said the receivers should take some of the blame for Sanchez's woeful stats.
"I've messed up and put Mark in bad situations, and other guys have, too," Schilens said. "It's a team game, so you see Mark out there with the bad completion percentage, that's only half of the story -- at most."
To ensure that miscommunication isn't a problem this week against the Texans' No. 1 overall defense, Sanchez has spent extra time on the field and in meetings with his receivers. Jeremy Kerley said they've been working on their timing and adjusting to routes they "normally wouldn't do" when Holmes was in the mix. The slot receiver added he'll be used on the outside more to compensate for the absence of Holmes.
Sanchez's margin for error inherently is slimmer now without his two biggest assets (Holmes, Keller). But the quarterback said he doesn't have time to worry about how he'll manufacture chemistry with his receivers, including newly acquired Jason Hill.
"We've got to do it. And we've got to make it work," Sanchez said.
He said his expectations for the group are straightforward: "Be in the right spot at the right time. After that, catch the ball.
"And they'll be right. I expect them to be right."
There's an inherent toughness that comes with the quarterback position, said Rex Ryan, who added that Sanchez's skin is thick enough to survive playing in New York.
"I think Mark's been fairly successful here," the Jets coach said. "I've always said this from day one: Gimme the quarterback that wins. I think Mark is an excellent quarterback. Obviously, this past game wasn't.
"I don't think any of us really played up to our level. And that's something we're working hard at."