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Sanchez 'fired up' for fresh start

Mark Sanchez talks to reporters at the Atlantic

Mark Sanchez talks to reporters at the Atlantic Health practice facility in Florham Park, N.J. (May 24, 2012) Credit: Joe Epstein

Having put his abysmal 2012 campaign behind him, Mark Sanchez is now looking forward to a fresh start with the Jets.

“My heart and soul is into this thing and I was just excited to see a bunch of guys on the team again and get ready to get going,” the Jets quarterback said Monday on the first day of voluntary workouts. That’s really where my head’s at.

“I’m fired up this year.”

Sanchez, now a fifth-year quarterback, has one singular focus for the offseason -- and that’s to win his starting job back. Again.

The beleaguered QB spent several weeks this offseason getting his “feet wet” in the West Coast Offense, under the supervision of former NFLer Jeff Garcia. Sanchez’s once-promising career has plummeted the past two seasons – culminating in a disastrous 6-10 finish in 2012. He threw just 13 touchdowns to 18 interceptions, completed just 54.3 percent of his passes and lost his starting job to third-stringer Greg McElroy in December.

“Once you watch all of that film, there’s nothing else to do but improve,” Sanchez said on a conference call. “Try to understand how you got in that position, what led to that, how to avoid some of those pitfalls if possible.”

For the first time in his erratic career, the QB won’t enter the offseason program as the clear favorite. This season he’ll have to compete, at the very least, against David Garrard, McElory and Matt Simms. Although Tim Tebow – who was one of the first players at the facility Monday – is still on the roster, he’s expected to be released or traded before the start of the season.

“It’s a whole new year and I’m excited to see the kind of team that we have when it’s all said and done,” said Sanchez, who will earn $8.25 million guaranteed in base salary this season. “I’m coming in to compete and to be the best player I can. And that’s really my only focus. The first thing I can do is learn this offense and then we can go out on the field.

"It’s my job to be the most accurate guy and the best decision-maker. And then we’ll see what happens there.” 

Sanchez also said he wasn't worried about a recent report that claimed the Jets were hoping to package him in a Darrelle Revis deal to Tampa Bay.

"I just heard it from people around and, I don’t know," Sanchez said with a laugh. "I don’t know what to say, that’s more of an upstairs question. I’m not really worried about that.”

Sanchez said he didn't get clarification from anyone in the organization about the nature of those talks between the Jets and the Bucs, but sources told Newsday Friday that the report was inaccurate.

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