Namath now likes cautious approach by QBs

Former Jets quarterback Joe Namath smiles on the

Former Jets quarterback Joe Namath smiles on the sidelines before Sunday's game in Houston. (September 13, 2009) (Credit: AP)

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HOUSTON - You know that time has marched on when even Joe Namath has gone conservative.

The flashy quarterback who once famously said, "I like my women blonde and my Johnnie Walker Black,'' now prefers his football bland.

In his playing days, ball control was never exactly a priority of Namath's, but when asked about Mark Sanchez's fourth-quarter interception that resulted in the Texans' only touchdown in the Jets' 24-7 victory Sunday, Namath preferred to not discuss the play, but the call.

"I don't like the idea of throwing at that stage,'' Namath said. "You know, we got a 17-0 lead at that point and we got those guys down pretty good. I mean, go ahead and punt and give it back. But nothing's perfect, I guess.''

Having Sanchez try to blast his way out of a second-and-15 from the Jets' 47 was the kind of call Namath would have relished in his playing days.

Sunday, Namath saw it as rash and reckless, the kind of call that quickly can turn a laugher into a weeper.

"It was just a play I wish we didn't do,'' he said. "And for what? To get your quarterback some more experience? Oooh-Kay. But you see how quickly it can turn around.''

The sequence reminded him of one involving Jets coach Rex Ryan's dad, Buddy, a former Jets assistant who while serving as defensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers once decked offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sideline for calling a play he didn't like.

"I'm surprised Rex didn't go and choke [Jets offensive coordinator Brian] Schottenheimer at that point,'' Namath said. "But I hope we don't see any of that this year.''

Namath, who had a brief conversation with Sanchez just before the game, generally liked what he saw from the No. 1 draft pick who carries the most expectations of any Jets quarterback since, well, Namath.

"He moves around nicely in the pocket for a rookie,'' Namath said. "He has poise, but he's been playing football for a little while. He's supposed to have poise. He seemed like he was ready to go, but he's got to learn that when you got a defense like this, there are some things you don't even attempt.''

Joe Namath talking up the defense? What has this world come to?

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