Second year QB Mark Sanchez keeps impressing me. Last year, he took the initiative of getting the rookies together before training camp. This year, he flew the receivers out to Jets West camp. Yesterday, he immediately took advantage of having a veteran QB available and offered Mark Brunell a ride to Cortland, Manish Mehta reports:
Sanchez reached out to Brunell with four simple words after the team’s conditioning test in Florham Park Sunday morning: "You need a ride?"
The two quarterbacks made the three-hour drive to Cortland together, sharing stories about football and family along the way. (They arrived in record time: "He drove," Brunell said. "We got here a lot quicker than if I would… He was flying.")
"We talked some football," Sanchez said. "We talked life. He’s great to have around so far. Maybe he’ll get on my nerves sooner or later… Just kidding."
Sanchez plans on picking up anything and everything for Brunell, who was an invaluable resource for Drew Brees in New Orleans last season.
"I’m trying to soak all that up and be mature beyond my years," Sanchez said. "I want to make decisions for my team - on the field, off the field - more mature than a sophomore year player. To do that, I need help from him."
"He’s got a great feel," Sanchez added. "He’s a good people person. So those are things I’m working -- being a leader for this team. I can really feed off him."
This adds to my speculation that Sanchise may have realized the value of having an experienced QB to lean on, and he probably expressed that to the coaching staff. OC Brian Schottenheimer is very close with Drew Brees, and the Saints QB told him that Brunell was very helpful last year as a backup.
ESPN New York's Rich Cimini adds that HC Rex Ryan has changed his mind on having a mentor for Sanchise:
Ryan admitted that having the veteran Mark Brunell to mentor Mark Sanchez was a good move. He said he resisted the idea last season with Matt Cavanaugh on staff and reluctantly said he might not have had all the answers his first year as a head coach.