New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez addresses the media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.
Q: Rex Ryan said it was up to the offense to pick it up, not only from Monday night but from last season. How do you go about picking it up?
MS: It's going to take us playing a lot smarter and a lot sharper than we did last week and not hurting ourselves with silly penalties and miscues like that. There are plenty of physical mistakes to go around for a game that we don't need to compound it with mental mistakes [like] lining up in the wrong spot and illegal shifts and motions and stuff, especially when you play against a good defense like a Bill Belichick defense. That's where it starts, and then just sticking to what we do best and playing well at home. We need to win our first game in our new stadium and just come out and start fast.
Q: How does playing a team like Baltimore who is so aggressive defensively help you prepare for a team like the Patriots and Bill Belichick's system?
MS: I think Coach Belichick is renowned for being able to switch up defensive schemes and having something each game that is really game plan-specific and you don't really know until you actually line up and start playing. We respect that. We know he always has a great plan for every team he plays. We're ready to play against a stingy defense, a tough defens [and] a really athletic defense. But Baltimore is a big help because they provide a lot of the same mentality. They're coming after the football. They don't just want to stop you on downs and turn the ball over on downs. They want to create turnovers, similar to the way a Belichick defense does.
Q: Have you seen the Cincinnati film yet?
Q: What do you take from watching the Patriots young secondary?
MS: They did a great job of breaking up passes in the vertical game. Their linebackers and stuff got out under balls and intercepted a couple passes, undercutting some stuff. They're just so active and athletic, so you need to be real accurate and real smart with your decision making because they can create turnovers and make you pay.
Q: With your coach having Super Bowl expectations for your team, is their more pressure for you to produce and perform?
MS: I don't think so. I think we put so much pressure on ourselves that we want to produce and perform for each other. We hold ourselves to a pretty high standard and last week was just unacceptable. I don't feel like it adds too much pressure at all. It's just the nature of where we play, the city we play in, this market, and the kind of players we have that demand your very best.
Q: What do you expect from yourself in your second year?
MS: Just making better decisions, like I did last week. I was pleased that I didn't give them a chance to even come close to intercepting the ball. As long as I'm not throwing interceptions, we've got a chance to win every game, whether it's the last drive or we're winning from the first play and jumping out early. Just better decision making, especially in the red zone, on third down and being more effective on third down. Last week wasn't our best start, so we need to pick that up. I think the decision making is the most important.
Q: What have you learned from Mark Brunell since he's been there?
MS: He's the best. He always has something good to say to you. He always relies on his own experience and he just has a way about him that keeps you calm. He's a great veteran voice to listen to. Whenever it comes to footwork or a play concept or something like that that we want to get another opinion on, we always ask Mark. He's just been so open to wanting help. Whether it's footwork or anything, he's available and he's very open to trying to help me. I think it was one of the best decisions we made this offseason.
Q: On "Hard Knocks" he said he likes you as a person, but he wouldn't let you near his daughter who is close to your age. What was your reaction to that?
MS: I mean, I don't blame him. She just got into college, so she's at a different point in her life. It was pretty funny; he was just giving me a hard time. He's got a great family, so I was so excited to meet all of them. I met all his boys. He's probably going to keep her away from me, which is fine.
Q: As a quarterback entering your second year, would you have rather not have had the distraction of "Hard Knocks?"
MS: I don't think it really made a difference. I think the fans really got a kick out of it. It didn't really bother me. After the first day, you don't even think about the cameras being there, so it really wasn't that big of a deal or distraction. It was fun to go back and look at all the stuff that goes on during camp that you don't see in the defensive rooms and stuff for the offensive guys. But it didn't bother us.
Q: How did you clean all of those popcorn things out of your car?
MS: I wanted to make sure I didn't give the defensive coaches the satisfaction of seeing me go to the car and get all the popcorn out, so I called a car detailing service and by the time we got done with practice I walked out and the car looked as good as new, so that really ticked them off. I think I'm in for another prank soon.
Q: Given the way Monday night went, do you feel any added pressure or expectation to bounce back Sunday with a much better performance?
MS: I think we're ready to play and this game can't come soon enough. We don't have any more pressure than we did last week. It's going to be something ever week, when you play with this team - "Hard Knocks," New York Jets, Coach Ryan. I mean, that's just kind of the way things go. Every week there is going to be something. We're going to rely on the guys in our room and we don't have anything to prove to anybody on the outside, but just to be accountable to each other in the offensive room and clean up our mistakes, own up to them, be pros about it and have a better performance across the board.
Q: Do you like that kind of environment? Do you feel like you can thrive in that kind of environment?
MS: The one I just described? Absolutely. I better be able to. I definitely think I can and I know I will. We just need to work some of these kinks out and play a lot smarter football. It's not a question of anybody's effort t or ability. It's just about playing smart and disciplined, so I think we can definitely turn things around here.
Q: last year in the playoffs, you guys won a couple of games in part thanks to a great running game - Shonne Greene - and this year you have LaDainian Tomlinson. How important is it to get them involved to take some of the burden off you and the passing game?
MS: It's huge. They can take all that pressure of the quarterback and you can couple that with a great defense. Your work is really cut out for you at the quarterback spot just making the right run checks and then getting completions when you can and not forcing anything. And then not just in the run game, but passing the ball - run action, play action, being able to check it down to LT and Shonne, who has really improved his hands, is huge for us. They can create plays and last year I wasn't as quick to get to them, but this year I have been. I've been a lot sharper with it, so they made plays for me. But getting that running game going is important and just getting the flow on offense. We didn't run enough plays because we weren't converting on third down last week, so it made it difficult. But we did have good numbers in the run game, so we want to keep that up.
Q: How did you enjoy your stint play calling in the fourth preseason game and is that helpful to you going forward?
MS: Absolutely. As a player, I though the most important thing I learned was how to think like an offensive coordinator. As a player, you're so optimistic about any shot you call, anything down the field, something you practiced all week. But as a play caller, on first-and-ten, when you call one of those big shot down-the-field plays, you automatically think, 'Ok, we're going to be second-and-10 after this play.' You're so negative, that in your head you're dialing up your second-and-10 call before we even run the first-and-10 shot play. I can kind of see how Schotty [Brian Schottenheimer] is feeling and thinking and then when the quarterback doesn't do something that you're expecting, you know, 'Hey if I call the wrong play, just check it down and make me right.' So I know how Schotty felt last year and I know why he has so many grey hairs, because I was just driving him crazy last year when I would throw it down the field and force it when we called a shot. It looked bad on him, poor guy, and I could just dump it to the back.
Q: So are you saying you're more aggressive than him as a play caller?
MS: No, I just felt like the times when I needed to be conservative, I wasn't last year and forced some things. So now in the offensive coordinator spot when the quarterback did that in the game, I was like, 'Man, what are you thinking?' And now I know why Schotty would say that to me, because when you're playing, you're like, 'Well, what do you mean what was I thinking? You called the shot and I was ready to take it.' And now, when you call the plays you're like, 'Hey, man, make me right. Help me out here.'