With all the hoopla and buzz pervading the land of Green and White, Jets incumbent signal caller Mark Sanchez seems unfazed by the media frenzy.
Entering his fourth year in the NFL, Sanchez was given a vote of confidence as the front office signed its ‘Sanchize’ quarterback to a three-year 40.5 million contract extension—with $20.5 million fully guaranteed—making him the seventh-highest paid quarterback in the league.
Everything was just peachy in Sanchez’s world as he had the organization’s financial backing and support in spite of his struggles in 2011.
What a difference a couple weeks makes.
With the NFL’s most famous backup quarterback hopping onboard the Jet express, Sanchez’s world has been turned upside-down.
With growing speculation that his starting job could be in serious jeopardy, Sanchez hasn’t batted an eye when probed by reporters.
“We're adding another player,” remarked Sanchez. “We're not replacing anybody. I mean, he's here to help us. I'm confident in my abilities. I know the team feels the same way about me, they have belief in me. I'm the same guy that's helped us win a lot of games here with a lot of great players around me. We've all had big moments here together, a bunch of comeback wins and playoff victories. So yeah, I'm not worried about losing my spot. But I think Mike T and Rex have been absolutely clear on the signing, to add a new wrinkle to our offense, not to replace anybody.”
With the Jets intending to utilize Tim Tebow in a variety of packages, Sanchez’s playing time will likely diminish in goal-to-go situations and in New York’s Wildcat set. A team-first player, Sanchez seems willing to roll with the punches.
“It's well-documented that I'm not thrilled about playing wide receiver or coming off the field,” admitted Sanchez. “But that's just how I'm programmed, any quarterback is programmed like that. The way I feel about the Wildcat really is secondary. Our team goal is what's most important, and that's winning. I'm a team guy and I'll do whatever it takes to win. If changing a few things up a couple times a game is what we need to do, I'm totally onboard.”
Tebow’s versatility was a major draw for New York, an offense that lacked creativity or big-plays under coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in 2011. A new year ushers in major changes for the Jets, as former Miami Dolphins head man Tony Sparano will take the reins of the offense and look to incorporate his Wildcat package in New York.
In spite of the Wildcat system being termed 'obsolete' by football pundits, Sanchez placed his trust in Sparano’s creativity and Tebow’s playmaking skills.
“I think it's something that can complement our offense,” said Sanchez. “I think Coach Sparano has the best experience with it. He'll know how to work it in or use it at different times, maybe more than others sometimes. This has been an evolving game. Teams have been trying to create matchup problems. Last year you saw Tim have great success with the Wildcat in Denver running around, running the spread option and stuff.”
For Sanchez, his main concern for the 2012 season is the Jets win column.
“As long as we're scoring, it doesn't matter. Whether Jeremy Kerley throws a touchdown or I do, or Tim runs it in, throws the ball to me, I don't care. As long as we're scoring and winning, that's the most important thing."
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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