Mark Sanchez sure doesn’t appear to be the inexperienced, immature, playboy, college quarterback out of USC that many experts thought he was coming out of school in the spring of 2009. As the NFL lockout has derailed the thought of mini-camps and OTA’s for many teams this spring, Sanchez has been organizing the second year of what he likes to call “Jets West.” Number six brought his teammates together at Jets West last year to work on running routes and timing patterns.
This off-season Sanchez looks to do the same despite the depressing news of the lockout so far. He feels that Jets West gives his team an added advantage over other teams if the lockout were to be lifted. The tricky part of these workouts is the fact that if a player were to get injured he would not be covered under the NFL insurance while the league is in a lockout and many players are not willing to take that risk, especially if they are going to free agents.
Mark Sanchez joined ESPN Radio New York on The Michael Kay Show to discuss what Jets West is all about exactly, how many Jets players are training at Jets West, if he feels getting the players together for training at Jets West is something important for his team’s success this season, Braylon Edwards’ comments about wanting to stay in New York and Santonio Holmes attending Jets West.
Tell us what Jets West is exactly?
“So basically it started my rookie season and I wanted to get some guys together to work on some routes, work our timing, things like that because I didn’t feel as comfortable as I wanted to my rookie year. Like any quarterback I just wanted to get acclimated and feel good about the season coming up and my second camp. We jumped right in and had this idea. I showed them a powerpoint of the resort they would stay in at Pelican Hill and showed them a little powerpoint presentation on what I had in mind about guys coming out, where to stay, where to eat, some activities, and it kind of took off from there. This is the second installment and each day we start in the classroom and my old high school coach Bob Johnson, his classroom, we go through ‘install’. I’m the offensive coordinator basically and we go through day one formations and shifts, motions, runs, passes, protections, and all that. We go down the field work on those specific routes and it goes pretty much like that for five days straight. The guys love the film stuff. They love working the routes and than we got activities because I gotta lure these guys and entice them to come out. We went to the Lakers game Monday and saw them lose unfortunately. What else did we do? We’ve had lunch every day sponsored by a different catering service or a restaurant in the area. Some of my favorite places and then we’ve had competitions each day, so the first day was for a watch and we had a target throwing competition for the wide receivers. No quarterbacks allowed. Today we had a water balloon tossing contest and they won iPad 2′s.”
How many guys are training at Jets West?
“I think the most we had was fourteen. LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] had some family stuff to do, so we got Braylon [Edwards] out here, Logan Payne, Scotty McKnight of course or I’ll else I’d kick his butt, Joe McKnight. We got the McKnight brothers now. Let’s see Dustin Keller, Jeff Cumberland, John Conner ‘The Terminator’. Let see other running backs…who I am missing….Braylon, Brad Smith, Jeremy Kerley I already got him, so it’s a good group. Mark Brunell and Kevin O’Connell of course and [Greg] McElroy has been out here because he works with Bob Johnson.”
Do you feel Jets West is something important for the success of the Jets while there is a lockout?
“Absolutely and I think it has kind of become the trend and this year it is almost a trend because you have to. Last year we did it just to get even better, but it puts an advantage when the season starts. We’re lucky enough to have an established quarterback when the season starts, who’s now a leader on this team. If I was just drafted this year like the kid out of Missouri, Blaine Gabbert, you can’t hold a camp like this. You don’t know the offense yet. You haven’t met all of the guys. I mean just trying to find phone numbers for guys, trying to find Jeremy Kerley’s phone number through agents that don’t have a website to go to get other agents numbers now is really hard, so there’s a lot of leg work that goes into something like this and if you haven’t been on a team for a couple of years [phone drops]…”
How did you feel about Braylon Edwards’s comments yesterday saying he wants to come back to the Jets, but it depends on the discount he has to take? Does that make you feel great?
“Well that sounds great and if that’s how strong he feels. The one part about this whole thing is the money and Braylon wants to get as much as possible and deserves quite a bit after what he did last year, but at the same time he wants somebody he trusts at quarterback. He wants familiar faces… going to a team that won two or three games last year…yeah maybe he gets more money there, but at the same time he’s six years in. He wants to win games. So that’s the most important thing and you see a lot of players like that in free agency later in their careers and they just want to win games. He definitely was a part of our success last year. He looks great out there this year, so it’s been a joy playing with him and hopefully we get things figured out there.”
Did Santonio Holmes consider coming out to Jets West?
“He talked about it. I know he had something going this week, which I know was just a scheduling deal. You know that’s just kind of the way things go. It’s difficult to get as many guys as we can, but this was the week a lot of players could make it. You know it’s difficult because he’s a free agent, so I understand where he is coming from. If I was in his shoes would I do the same thing? I don’t know I would have to be in them. I would have to know his situation and what he wants to do. It’s totally his prerogative and I understand that and I’ll respect that, but hopefully he comes back and hopefully we’ll get a chance to make up some of the reps we lost this week.”