Sanchez’s thoughts on the big game Dan Leberfeld
32,000 feet – On Friday, Mark Sanchez had a press conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Complex.
He didn’t feel any extra scrutiny this week.
“I think it’s about the same,” Sanchez said. “You’re in the largest media market, and you’re under the microscope. You just have to act accordingly, and I’m trying to do that.”
How does he feel this week entering the AFC Championship Game compared to last year?
“Last year, I couldn’t really put my finger on it at the time, but things were going so fast and you’re just trying to hold on,” Sanchez said. “This year I feel like I have a better grasp on things and I’m just a little more confident going in.”
In the regular season Jets-Pittsburgh game, Steelers’ star safety didn’t play. What kind of challenge does he present?
“They let Troy (Polamalu) kind of do whatever he feels is right and 99% of the time he’s right,” Sanchez said. “He does such a good job of finding the ball, feeling things, reading the quarterback’s eyes. I think he’s really their X‑factor on their defense.”
What challenge do their myriad pass rushers present?
“They’re tough – (LaMarr) Woodley, (James) Harrison, (James) Farrior (and) (Brett) Keisel, all of them get after the quarterback,” Sanchez said. “They push the pocket. They just put stress on you. If they don’t get to you and they’re not hitting you as you’re throwing it, they’re just making it uncomfortable, clouding up your throwing lanes and disrupting your timing most importantly.
“You have to fight through it and understand that not every plays is going to be a perfect five‑step drop, couple resets, pat the ball a couple of times and throw it. It just doesn’t happen with this group. Understanding that going in, working drills in practice and trying to simulate that, and then in the game being a competitor, moving around, keeping two hands on the ball because they’ll get after it, that’s all can you do. It’s a feel thing. You’ll get used to it as the game goes on. Having played them before is a little bit of an advantage to kind of remember what that felt like.”
And lastly, how does his injured throwing shoulder feel?
“I feel even better than last week,” Sanchez said. “It feels, honestly, really good. Every week it’s gotten better. Last week was the best it’s felt. This week it is even better.”