Sanchez: I stunk
December, 31, 2012
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
Kevin Hoffman/USA TODAY SportsMark Sanchez said he wants to be back with Gang Green next season.FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is rather honest when evaluating his play from this past season.
"In my opinion, I underachieved and didn't play the way I'm capable of playing," Sanchez said Monday. "Unfortunately, that led to some losses and things like that. We just have to get better and take some time and get away from the game a little bit and come back strong next year.
"I just had a good talk with Rex [Ryan], and I know we're destined for great stuff here. I know we can be successful here. That's what I'm focused on. I'm excited to come back next year and do my best."
After a promising start to his career that included two AFC Championship Games, Sanchez is at a crossroads. He's suddenly a turnover-prone starter who was benched for a seventh-round pick and has lost the approval of the fans.
Over the past two seasons, as the Jets have missed the playoffs, Sanchez has 52 turnovers, including 26 this year (18 interceptions and eight fumbles). His tendency to turn the ball over, such as in the loss to the Titans that eliminated the Jets from postseason contention, has burned his team.
Sanchez said that once he dissects the film, he'll better know how to improve. He said his play has been disappointing because he doesn't want to let his teammates down. After throwing 26 touchdowns in 2011, Sanchez had just 13 this season -- and he now feels he has something to prove.
"There are some situations where I need to play better. There are some great plays and some great throws and then there were some not so good things," Sanchez said. "Those are the things I need to focus on this offseason and try and fix those and put us in a better position to take care of the football."
Although he didn't do much to help his job security, Sanchez reiterated Monday he expects to be back with the Jets next season. Of course, his $40.5 million contract is a big reason for that. He has an $8.25 million guarantee for next year, which makes it tough for the Jets to release or trade him.
"Until I'm told differently, I'm a Jet," Sanchez said. "That's what I always thought would happen. I don't see anything different. I just want another crack at this thing."
Sanchez did not want to place any blame for his struggles on the acquisition of backup Tim Tebow. While Tebow didn't start any games or have much of an effect on the offense, his presence brought a tremendous following and put extra pressure on Sanchez to succeed this season.
"I'm not going to make any excuses for anything like that," Sanchez said. "He worked his butt off while he was here, and he tried to come in and help this team. That's all I'm going to say about that. He's a good teammate."