Mark Sanchez ‘Needs’ To Win, Must Make A ‘Big Jump’ This Year In Order For Jets To Take Home A Lombardi Trophy
The NFL lockout hasn’t been particularly nice to any team. Especially the New York Jets. Gang Green has fallen one game short of the Super Bowl two years running now, and despite the disappointments of the two AFCCG losses, New York has made tremendous strides the past two seasons under the direction of the loud-mouthed Rex Ryan and his hard hitting defense. We cannot overlook the development of Mark Sanchez in his first two up-and-down seasons. No other player has treated his radio ‘clones’ better according to Jim Rome.The former USC Trojan quarterback, who was a Rose Bowl MVP, really is beginning to sound more confident in his ability after what he’s been through the past two years. Dare I say that Sanchez is becoming the leader of this Jets team? It may be a stretch if you wanna look at vocal veteran leaders like Bart Scott on the Jets defense. Still, No. 6 recently told the New York Post (Steve Serby) that he ‘needs’ to win.
He sounds serious too.Sanchez is tired of the long layoff due to the lockout and feels he needs the reps and video session work with Brian Schottenheimer in order to make a big jump in his game this season. You cannot help, but love what you hear if you are a Jets fan because this kid sounds ready to rock and roll while even hoping New York gets a crack at Peyton Manning in their own building in the post-season this year.Mark Sanchez joined The Jim Rome Show to discuss going through a turbulent off-season with the NFL lockout, Randy Moss being of interest to him for the Jets offense, keeping Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards, his comments made to the New York Post regarding ‘needing’ a Super Bowl and feeling he has to step up his game in order for the Jets to win the Super Bowl this year.
What’s it been like to go through this turbulent off-season with the lockout?
“It was weird in March and April. That was one thing to not have OTA’s that soon and to have a couple of extra months. Nobody really complained about that if that makes sense. The fans understand that, but after May/June, now we are into mid-to-late July…it’s just gone on way too long especially for a third-year quarterback. I need those reps. I need those OTA’s. I need those film sessions with Brian Schottenheimer and our coaches. All that stuff. It helps me having free agency done at this point. It would have really helped. I don’t even know who I am throwing to. We got Jerricho Cotchery. I know we got Dustin Keller and some core guys there, but our back field is set. Our offensive line is pretty much set. Our defense is pretty much set, but I need to know who I am throwing to. It’s been frustrating at times, but I’ve taken advantage of it. I’ve done a bunch of charity stuff. I’ve worked out quite a bit and I feel good like I feel ready to go. I can’t wait to get back and get rolling.”
Is Randy Moss a player that might interest you?
“They are talking about everything. I think you know our team. I remember after my rookie year thinking ‘Man how are we going to get these guys back? What are we possibly going to do next year?’ We showed up to camp with LT [Ladainian Tomlinson], Jason Taylor, [Antonio] Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, so I know Mr.Tannenbaum and Mr.Johnson and Rex Ryan…that is what they do in the off-season. That is what their push is going to be. Hopefully free agency will start next week and I’ll be on the horn if they need me to be calling guys, making sure guys want to come play for Rex [Ryan], but I don’t think that will be hard. I don’t think they will need me to convince anybody, but whether it is Randy Moss or Braylon [Edwards] or Santonio [Holmes] or some combination of the three of them. Anybody. I just want to know what is going on.”
What are your opinions on having either Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards? Which one do the Jets need more?
“I think both of them have their strengths. I think both of them do so well in our system. The luxury of having both. It was really too bad we couldn’t have Santonio for the first four games of last year, but Braylon…that is a guy who can blow the top off of coverage. He can run down the field and make guys respect him down the field. He can play ‘X’ receiver by himself, isolate him on the weak side and get doubled. He can jump up for a jump ball in the red zone and make you right with a bad throw and he has done it plenty of times. That’s what the good quarterbacks have. They can have someone bail them out like that. Then you got a guy like Santonio…you can throw the ball to him behind the line of scrimmage. You can throw him the ball two yards down the field and this guy can break one for 99. This guy is unbelievable, so it’s tough to say what we need more. I think either one of them provides that deep threat. Both are so fast. Both are tough players. Both had great years last year, so I wouldn’t care who we bring back. I hope we can bring them both back, but that’s also tough because we have Brad Smith, who’s a big part of our special teams package and Wildcat package. So between the three of them I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
You said recently you do not want a Super Bowl. You said you ‘need’ a Super Bowl. What does that mean?
“I don’t know. I think it’s the way I approach playing each year. It’s not a matter of winning games. I need it. I need that feeling of winning the game. I need that preparation all week to build me up and get me going for that Sunday and to win the game. That is suppose to happen. That’s just the way it is suppose to be and being around Rex and our coaching staff and being around our players. Your guy Bart Scott the ‘hood champ.’ I mean he expects to win and that’s how I feel, so going into this third year that’s all I can think about. That’s all I dream about. That is all that is still on my mind. I’m thrilled about this opportunity again this year. I’ve seen in these first few years what it takes to make the AFC Championship game and now we have to put a full game together. Both years we played a half of football really well and the other half sucked. It’s really too bad. There’s no excuse for going out and doing that again, so now we gotta start all over again and get rolling. I think we definitely have the right team, the right coaches, and I need it. That’s just the way I feel.”
Do you feel like for the Jets to get to the next level you need to step up your game?
“Oh that’s absolutely right. Me elevating my game and upping my completion percentage, throwing a couple of less interceptions and a couple of more touchdowns. Just keeping us on the field and moving the chains. All that stuff is so important. I think if we do that during the regular season and when I’ve had a couple of bad games, maybe a couple in a row, we get a home playoff game. Who knows to change our entire playoff run? Especially an AFC Championship game at home. I mean in New York in the cold, especially if we get a team that’s not quite use to the cold. Then we have a huge advantage or we try to get Peyton Manning outdoors. It’s tough to beat him in his own stadium, so we need to get him in our place. That’s the way we need to feel to win our division. It’s a matter of me making a big jump this year and I’m ready for that challenge. I’m excited about it and it’s time to go. We’ve been out of football too long. I am ready to go.”