Mark Sanchez insists he's not about to go out and try to show he's indeed the Jets' long-term answer.
"I’m not out to prove anything like that to people," the quarterback said this afternoon. "I just want to work hard for these guys on the team, and these guys know I’m leading by example, being vocal if I need to. But these are the guys I’m playing for right here, in this locker room and in this building, and when we all have that approach I think that’s when it’s great for the fans, too, because we’re playing for each other.
"It’s obvious. We get wins, and then everybody is happy."
Questions have arisen lately because of Sanchez's inconsistencies in leading a unit that's ranked 27th despite such lofty expectations coming into the season. ProFootballTalk reported Sunday that some in the Jets' organization are beginning to question if he's the guy.
"That kind of stuff happens when you’re not playing as well as you’d like to and your team is not in control of your own destiny in the playoffs," Sanchez said. "That’s natural and a part of this league. You have to handle that stuff."
That includes the criticism that's been flowing his way all season.
"It’s understood," he said. "Any time things don’t go your way or things aren’t as successful as people expect, and obviously there’s high expectations, AFC Championship two years in a row so there’s only one more step to make, really. Win that game and then go win the Super Bowl. So with those expectations, that’s fine. When things don’t go right people are going to immediately question me, Rex, Schotty.
"That’s the way it goes. That’s the position we’re in. It’s important at times like these to just trust what you know, trust the guys around you and keep working. And you have to work through these times, the good times and bad times, and that’s OK. I’m ready for these challenges and I know we can overcome a lot with the guys in this locker room."
Sanchez said he doesn't get angry at the fact he's being questioned despite playing in two straight AFC title games.
"No, because you can’t hang your hat on that," he said. "At least I don’t. I know a lot of Jets fans this past offseason were, man, you took us to two AFC Championships, these are the best two seasons we’ve had in so long and they thanked me and been excited. And right now obviously when you’re not winning it’s like, man, c’mon, you have to play better than that. So that’s OK. Fans want results. That’s fine. We’re here to create results.
"And create wins and manufacture wins each week and we just haven’t been doing it. We haven’t been as consistent as we need to be. We’ve identified a lot of the problems, and it’s never too late to fix them and this is our chance this week."
Even with the latest round of heat that's being applied, Sanchez has no regrets about playing in the tough New York metropolitan area market.
"No, no, no, no, no," he said. "Win, lose or draw I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I promise. I’m lucky to be here, I’m fortunate and blessed, whatever you want to call it. I’m thrilled about this job and thrilled about this opportunity this week. Have we played our best? No… We just have to keep pressing be smart and see what happens."