Mark Sanchez on Joe Namath Criticizing his Play: “That’s the way it goes and especially in New York. It’s no big deal.”October 27, 2011 – 6:00 am by Steven Cuce
It’s been an up and down season for Mark Sanchez. At times this season the New York Jets signal caller has been all over the place with his accuracy. The Jets, after winning their first two games of the 2011 season, lost their next three to fall to 2-3 and induce panic across the city. Fans and scribes questioned whether he was really progressing into the quarterback that could lead his team to the Super Bowl that his head coach, Rex Ryan, continued to promise was just around the corner. Despite New York winning the last two weeks to get back above .500, Sanchez has certainly not silenced his critics entirely. He has however looked good in stretches, most notably in the second half of the Jets’ Week 6 win over Miami.
Last week Sanchez finally made use of Plaxico Burress in the red-zone and hit the big man for three touchdown passes as New York rallied in the second half for an impressive win. Joe Namath has been one of the many critics of the Jets this season for their inconsistent play and Sanchez understands why he is the target of the media being a quarterback in New York. The Jets are on a bye week and look to keep their momentum rolling into Buffalo next weekend.
Mark Sanchez joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to discuss handling the pressure that Rex Ryan puts on the Jets every week by guaranteeing Super Bowl rings, developing a better rapport with Plaxico Burress, Joe McKnight’s specials teams dominance this season, Joe Namath taking shots at him in the press and staying away from the New York media whenever possible.
How do you guys handle the pressure when your head coach is guaranteeing Super Bowl rings all the time? Do you guys love him as a coach? Do you hate him?
“We love him as a coach. We know the only reason he says things like that is because that is what he believes. He believes in our team and he wants us to play our very best. He’s not shy about letting people know that he thinks we are very good. That’s good that your coach has that kind of confidence and that’s just his style. He doesn’t care what other people think about anything. He’s going to let you know what he thinks and that’s about it. He’s one of the best coaches to play for and we love him.”
You threw three touchdown passes to Plaxico Burress last week. Has it just been an adjustment period with him? Has Plax been in shape the whole time?
“I think he has been ready to play. I think it is still a work in progress and just because we had that kind of chemistry on Sunday and this is my new point to him that this next week we have to have a great week of practice. It really showed on Sunday and we need to keep that going. You don’t just suddenly wake up with a new receiver and finally have chemistry. You gotta work at it and you really gotta practice hard at it. He’s been good about it, so hopefully Sunday got him excited and he knows what a big threat he can be to other teams. You really saw how much he can help our team when he is playing well like that. That was really fun to see him get going and get excited out there and catch three touchdowns. He took every football over that he caught to his son, which is pretty cool, who is sitting in the crowd. He’s excited to be back. That’s for sure. We’re glad he had a break out game.”
What in the world is going on with Joe McKnight? He’s been doing it all lately on special teams hasn’t he?
“Joe is a baller. I think he is just starting to figure it out. I am so happy for him. He is really focused. He is putting in the extra time and it’s really showing on the field and our special teams coach, Mike Westhoff, is probably the best in the league coaching special teams. They [special teams coaches] love Joe. They want to give him opportunities and they just want him to prove he can handle it and he’s done everything they’ve asked this year, so whether it is on defense or offense or special teams if he wants to contribute Rex [Ryan] loves him too. It’s been good to see and finally see him break out and have some big plays.”
Do you get along with Joe Namath? It seems like every other day I am reading a quote from him regarding your play. Do you talk to Joe Namath? It seems like every quote is a shot at you?
“He still cares a lot about the team. I know that. Some of that stuff may be taken out of context and the other stuff he just wants us to do well, so he is critical of anybody. If anybody is critical of our team it’s probably going to be me or Rex [Ryan]. That’s just kind of the roles we bought into, but it’s good when you are playing well and like I tell people all the time you beat the Patriots in the divisional game last year and you are wise beyond your years. Your footwork is the best. You are making the best reads in the world and you are going to be one of the best quarterbacks ever and then you lose a couple of games in a row and it’s like man this guy isn’t maturing at the right rate. He’s making bad decisions and his footwork sucks. That’s the way it goes and especially in New York. Joe Namath is the ultimate Jet and he’s probably the biggest icon this franchise has and winning that Super Bowl and guaranteeing it the way he did. We have a lot of respect for him and I know he wants the best out of our team. It’s no big deal.”
Do you stay away from the New York media or do you read the papers all the time?
“I don’t go out and buy a newspaper or whatever, but whenever I do…my press conferences…you are obligated to talk to the media on Wednesdays during the week. Our PR department kind of lets me know what is going on, so I have a heads up going in that I don’t get caught off guard with a question about Joe Namath or what Rex [Ryan] said to Norv Turner or Darrelle Revis and Mike Francesa. It’s like there is always something. They give me a quick little reminder and say hey did you hear about this? I say no what happened? It is a cool little five minutes before I go and talk to the media about what is going on and I get my briefing and then head in and jump in. It’s been fun. Some of it’s funny and some of it is just the way things go.”