New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Sanchez: Tebow trade a savvy business move
After Thursday’s media day following OTA conditioning, Mark Sanchez was up early Friday morning for a radio interview with Boomer and Carton on WFAN. The Jets quarterback spoke for nearly 30 minutes, discussing everything from Tim Tebow (and the perceived distractions that come with his arrival to Florham Park), to his confidence in right tackle Wayne Hunter and his reconnection with wide receiver Santonio Holmes.
Sanchez reiterated he isn’t bothered by the fact that he found out about the Tebow trade after the fact. But his initial reaction to the trade was rather telling.
When co-host Craig Carton asked for his immediate feelings on the trade, Sanchez responded with several pauses and awkward laughs in between.
“Um ...I don’t know ...That’s a good question. No one’s asked me that question yet. You’re good. You’re good,” Sanchez said to Carton. “Uhhh, you know, I was a little curious. I didn’t know exactly what was going on.
“But once I talked to Mike Tannenbaum and Rex and Mr. Johnson, they assured me that this was good for the team and they thought it would be good for all of us, that he could do so many different things.”
Sanchez then went on to describe the trade for Tebow as a savvy business venture, one the Jets could not have passed on.
“You’re always going to have a backup quarterback and this guy can do so many other things, so from a business standpoint if you’re running a team, and your backup quarterback can do five other jobs, I mean, from a business standpoint, you’re saving money. It’s a solid move,” he said. “Just like Brad Smith used to do. He returned kicks and punts and did everything -- and he could play quarterback.”
As was the case on Thursday, Sanchez said he didn’t think the media and fan following for Tebow would be distraction in any way. In fact, it could very well make his life easier.
“The most important thing is to put your head down and go to work and have success and play well. Master this system, take care of the football and the rest is just going to fall into place. We had the media in there yesterday and usually my locker is just swarming with people and," the starting QB said, before pausing to laugh, "yesterday it was all at Tim’s locker and I was like, ‘Man, I might be able to sneak in here and sneak out of here and they won’t even ask me a question.’ So sometimes, it kind of takes the pressure off you, as weird as that might seem.”
Sanchez also highlighted the fact that he played better statistically last season. Despite his 18 interceptions, his completion percentage (56.7), passing yards (3,474) and touchdowns (26) all went up compared from his previous two seasons. But he also understands the high demands that comes with playing in New York -- and he’s ready for the challenge.
That’s why his goals for this season are to master the playbook, take care of the football and to take his leadership to the next level, especially with veteran LaDainian Tomlinson no longer around.
“I just know that here in a city like this it’s ‘What have you done for me lately?’” Sanchez said. “I mean, look at the Giants. Look where they played at. They were calling for (quarterback) Eli (Manning) and coach (Tom) Coughlin and people were upset. They beat us, they go on this amazing run, they win the Super Bowl and they’re where they are today. Everybody loves them.
“So I can see how quickly things turn, I can also see how fragile things are and an 8-8 season -- I think they won one more game than us. So, it’s that fine of a line between success and quote-unquote failure from last year. I get it. If we would have went 8-8 the first year and then won the AFC championship these last two years, perception-wise things would be different. That all comes with the territory and if you can’t handle that, I shouldn’t be in this position. And I can definitely handle it.”
As for Holmes, Sanchez said their relationship is back to the way it used be. “It feels like the way we were when he first arrived,” the quarterback said, referring to Holmes’ first game in a Jet uniform -- a Monday night matchup against the Vikings on Oct. 11, 2010.
“We couldn’t wait for that game to start cause I just wanted to get on the field and see what he could do. And that’s the way our relationship should be. And we let some stuff get in the way of that last year. We both talked about it and we’re ready to move on and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
Sanchez again wouldn’t compare Brian Schottenheimer to Tony Sparano, but said he still has special feelings for his old coordinator.
“I have nothing but great memories of coach Schottenheimer and all our playoff runs and things like that,” he said. “We had a lot of fun together and he was my first coordinator in the league so, there’s a special place for him in my mind and my heart. I think his family was great to me.”
A day after Wayne Hunter unequivocally said he is without question a starter on the Jets offensive line, Sanchez expressed the same level of confidence in his right tackle.
He said he has faith in Hunter, whom he called a “physical freak” and a “monster of a human,” and also said his tendency to hold on to the ball contributed to the offensive line’s struggles.