Mark Sanchez 11/17 Press Conference

On how his calf felt today…
Okay. It felt good for practice today, so I took most of the reps. We'll see how it feels tomorrow and how it responds to the day.  John Mellody and the training staff have been proactive and I’m feeling good.
 
On the injury…
I think it's just a really bad bruise.  Obviously, it’s nothing serious (and) nothing to get tested with an MRI.
 
On if he had an MRI…
No.



On what went through his mind when he got hurt…
I didn't know. I didn't want to get up too fast and I didn't want to get carried off the field.  I just wanted to try and walk it off first.  I did that and made it to the sidelines.  I just didn't feel very good, obviously.  It just got twisted up pretty good.  Nothing too bad. 
 
On getting the fans more involved in the game…
Sure, that'll help.  You would never think the two losses you would have would be at home.  That's important.  Those first couple drives kind of set the tone for the game. These last two games on the road, in Detroit and in Cleveland, (we were) not as sharp as we want to be, especially in the red zone.  Third-downs got better last week, so that was good.  We moved the chains and kept drives alive, but it's about finishing those drives, so that's been a real point of emphasis this week.  We can't have penalties early in the game.  That stuff hurts. (We need to take) care of the football, obviously, all game.
 
On if they will have to change things on offense if Jerricho Cotchery can’t play…
I don't think so.  He's started some and come in as a third some.  He's moved around quite a bit and done a great job in every spot.  Obviously, we’d miss him a little bit, but at the same time, guys need to step up.  That will be Brad Smith. It (might) be Patrick Turner. (We’ll be) moving guys around a little bit, but I don't think it really changes what we do. I know Brad Smith is a talented receiver and he can do it all for us.  He can return punts and run the Wildcat.  It'll be a good opportunity for those other guys.
 
On if there is a temptation to pass since Houston is last in the league in defending the pass…
I think we'll stick to what we do.  We're a good running football team and we're best when we’re balanced.  We want to play to our strengths and we'll game plan specifically for this game, but I don't think much will change.  We want to be as balanced as possible. 
 
On if he wants to lobby for the offense to get the ball when they win the coin toss…
Both times when we've gotten the ball first, we've gone down and scored right away.  I think it's only happened twice.  We feel comfortable getting the ball first.  I don't know. It just seems that the last two games we really haven't gotten off to a fast start and then in the Green Bay game, we didn't get off the ground much.  We couldn't get anything going.  I don't know if it's whether we get the ball first or not, but just the initial drive.
 
On if he would prefer to have the ball first…
It doesn't matter.
 
On if he minds that they also defer when they win the coin toss...
I don't care either way.  Whenever we get the ball, we get the ball.  I've always been on teams where you defer.  I'm used to that.  If we get the ball first, we need to take advantage of it whenever we have it.
 
On if Pete Carroll always deferred at the University of Southern California…
Yes, we always deferred.  I think in high school we did too.
 
On how excited Brian Cushing will be to play in his first game in New Jersey…
It's a huge game for him.  I know his family is excited.  They're all out here.  My family is excited to see them, so that's kind of going on outside the game.  I'm excited to see his family after the game.  Hopefully, we're talking about us winning.  Having beaten them last year, he was a little upset, so he wants to win, especially in front of a home crowd for him. It'll be a good match up for us.  He's playing really well.
 
On if he thinks Cushing has bounced back from the controversy surrounding him…
Oh, sure. He's had to move around on a defense that had to change some things because DeMeco Ryans went down, who's probably one of their best players.  Brian has had to step up and take more of a leadership role it looks like and he's done a great job.  I'm proud to see the way he's playing.  He's going to be excited for this one.  We don't need to give him any excuses to make any plays. 
 
On if he would like the team to get out to a big lead early in the game…
Big leads, those are nice.  They're rare in this league, but I think we've missed opportunities to kind of run away with games at times. We just haven't been sharp when we needed to be early in games. We've always found a way to do it at the end, but you never want to run into a situation where you just run out of time.  The later you make it, the tougher it is and the dicier it gets. We’d like to win some games in regulation, but we'll take the wins as they come. It shows a lot about our group and about how we can stay in these games until the final whistle. I'm proud of the way we've played.  I think it's encouraging that we haven't played our best football and we're still 7-2.
 
On if his family has asked him to make the games a little easier…
Oh, everybody (has asked).  I don't know if anybody in my family has any nails left or any cuticles.  They're just dying watching TV and it's making it hard on them.  They're just excited for us.  We're playing to win and just need to be sharper. 
 
On his ability to make plays on his feet…
I think it came from the last two weeks of preparation right after the Green Bay game. Coach Cavanaugh, (laughing) I've done this almost twice already, but I almost called him Coach Brunell (laughter). Mark Brunell, my teammate, he brought these foam bats, so you see us on the practice field using them all the time.  At the beginning, I thought it was just an excuse for them to hit me, but now I'm seeing the result of that kind of practice. They're talking to me about remaining a passer on the move, slipping defenders, protecting the ball and just moving up in the pocket and attacking vertical in the pocket instead of running side-to-side and just giving us more options down-the-field. It's made me so much more comfortable moving around and getting away from guys.  A lot of times as a quarterback you think, ‘Ok, somebody is grabbing me. I've got to go down.’  You don't have to.  You can move a little bit, and that's what these drills have been teaching me to do.  Then, we scramble around and I'm throwing it to our equipment guy, Vito (Contento).  Poor guy. We're just pelting him with the ball.  It's easier in the game when you have Jerricho and Santonio (Holmes) actually catching the ball for you. It's been a result of that practice, and it's really showed up in the games because of those drills. 
 
On if the foam bats are like the ones from "The Jeffersons"
It's just like that.  Brunell brought them.  You'll see them in practice.  We had them out there today.
 
On Brunell saying they are just trying to knock the ball out…
It works.  It's pretty realistic because guys swipe at the ball, they hit your arm a little bit and you've got to move. They just talk about keeping the ball in two hands.  It's a point of emphasis that we make and it's really helped.
 
On keeping the ball in two hands…
That's probably next on the fine list.  That and my raccoon hat will probably be next.
 
On how comfortable Santonio Holmes is in the offense…
He's just comfortable. He doesn't show a lot of emotion until after the game.  The whole game this guy is just calm in any situation, and it's that demeanor from him that's contagious.  It's awesome to see that.  He's never rattled.  I don't think at any point in that game he thought it was ever going to be a tie. He knew we were going to somehow get down there and score or kick a field goal and win the game.  You can tell just by the way he plays.  He doesn't play to get recognized, he just plays to win.  He's really getting comfortable, and he's a deep threat.  He's an underneath threat.  He's a dangerous player, and he's a joy to have on our team.
 
On if that was the happiest he ever was throwing an interception…
Probably.  We walked off the field and we talked about it before the drive that if we get a chance to throw one down there, if it's a one-on-one situation, then let it go.  The worst that could have happened was an interception and they're backed up in their own territory. It works out like a punt.  Our defense is playing really well, we might get the ball back.  It could have been a pass interference. Braylon (Edwards) could have caught it. Who knows?  It’s just giving our guys a chance to make a play.
 
On if that’s as far as he can heave the ball…
I threw it farther in the Detroit game.  It was obviously indoors and that wind was tough.  I kind of had a feeling of what was going through Folk's head, poor guy, because you kick it and part of the stadium is open like a cutout, almost like a pizza cut, and it's so windy right when you throw in that spot. Then, once you pass that part and you pass the cutout, the ball just kind of dies.  I didn't throw it very far, which was a bummer. 
 
On if he wants to get back at Brunell…
For the bats?  I don't know. Everything he's done is good. He's like an oracle (laughter).  He's pretty sharp. 
 
On how much he’s grown since the last year’s game against Houston…
Brunell was laughing at the tape from the Houston game last year about just how jittery I was.  I probably could have paid a thousand dollars in fines in that game just on film, let alone the TV copy. It's good to see that growth.  I'm glad that game didn't go into overtime because I don't know what I would have done last year.  I'm happy about our growth process.  I'm happy the way our team is coming together.  It seems like we're coming together at the right time and we're ready to make this final push, and now it's just a matter of taking that extra step. Rex really impressed that upon us today in our team meeting.  That's the next step in our growth and my personal growth. This is a good week to start.



 
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