Mark Sanchez 'Optimistic' About Injured Shoulder

Here is the transcript of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s press conference today, the day after the Jets fell one game short of reaching the Super Bowl for the second straight season. Sanchez said he was “optimistic” about his injured shoulder.

On his development this season…
The most important thing, personally, was trying to cut down on interceptions. I cut down on turnovers (and) ball security (issues). To improve like we did, to jump as many spots as we did in third-down conversions, on red zone efficiency, everything we improved in as an offense. That just comes with experience. I’m really proud of the coaches and the players for improving like we promised each other we would on this day last year. We talked about getting a little bit better and we did. At this point, we’re right there. We’re so close. As hard as it is, we’re just knocking on the door. We’re the only team to make it back in that final four of teams and that’s unbelievable. There is something to be said for that. It’s just really too bad that we didn’t make it all the way.

On the importance of re-signing Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes…
I felt great with both of them. They both have big play-making ability, obviously. They both can change the dynamic of a game. They helped me out tremendously in their own ways, by just talking or playing, they’ve helped me. I’d love to get them back. This is the worst part because you go from, growing closer together, we’re as tight as we can possibly be right now, then you move to (the) business side of things and it’s harder. It becomes black and white. That’s just the way it goes. Things happen. Guys change teams. Who knows? It’s really too bad, I’ll stay positive and I hope we can get everybody back, but I know that is not realistic. We’ll work with what we’ve got and stay in contact with them and I’ll do everything I can possibly do to help.

On if he feels there will be a lot of changes to the team next season…
I don’t know. I just feel like there are probably more than a handful of guys, at least 10, that won’t be playing (here) next year because of contracts deals or age. Guys have played a long time and they’ve had great careers. LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) and Jason Taylor, I mean those guys are great competitors. They are nearing the end of their career, (but) I hope we get them back, I hope they have one more year in them because they’ve helped me. The reality is this is a tough game and these guys have played a long time, so we’ll see what happens.

On if this team is built for the long-haul…
Absolutely. The nucleus of this team will be here and we’ll keep as many guys as possible. I know they’ll do that, management wise, we’ll be smart about it and do what’s best for us. I’m confident in Rex (Ryan), in Mike Tannenbaum and Mr. Johnson doing the very best they can to keep our guys.

On the status of his shoulder…

I’ll still talk to the doctors about it, we did our exit physicals and they are thrilled about the progress I’ve made in the last couple of weeks. Things are pointing in the right direction. If there was something serious, I think (things) would have declined. Things could have gotten worse, I wouldn’t have been able to practice. If anything, it just got better. That’s a good sign. I’ll just take it from there, talk to the doctors, get a couple of opinions on it, try to get it looked at and we’ll take it from there. I’m optimistic about everything and hopefully nothing needs to be done. A little rest and I’ll be ready to go again.

On if he has an appointment set up with Dr. James Andrews for his shoulder yet…
No, not yet.

On if he has plans to set up an appointment with Dr. Andrews…
I don’t know, last year it was definitely something that needed to be looked at, kind of hands on. This is something that can be looked at through an MRI or X-Ray (slide), so we’ll see what happens.

On what exactly his shoulder injury is…

I think it’s just sore and recovering. (laughing) It feels good. I think it’s healed now.

On next season…
I feel like we’re so close. You just can’t start that slow in a game (AFC Championship game at Pittsburgh) like that. I’m proud of our guys for the way that we improved last year but we’re going to need a little more. That’s the only thing I can think of right now, just a little bit more, out of me, as a leader, as a quarterback, just getting completions and taking care of the ball even better next year. There is going to be more of an emphasis on taking control and assuming command of this team and this organization, that’s just the way I feel. (We have to get) everybody on board, the new guys that we bring in, we’ve got to get them right, we’ve got to get them playing like a Jet from day one. That’ll be our goal, but we’ve got a great group. I’m thrilled about playing with these guys. I definitely got better from playing with them and being around them. I’m wearing gang green with pride, I’m thrilled about being here and we’ll take it one game at a time.

On what the playoff run did for his development…
I don’t think I’ve been more focused, maybe in my life. I don’t think I’ve been more prepared. I just felt good about the plan. I was seeing things before they happened. The game started to slow down. I felt great. It really did and it just felt good being with this team and just being in the team meeting rooms. Every time we would get in the team meeting rooms and I’d see Rex talk, it was just like, ‘This is it. We’re going. This is our year. It’s going to happen,’ and it’s just too bad.

On how badly he wanted the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game…
That’s all you want. It’s a tough way to go out, but we fought hard in the second half. It was too bad we didn’t have that effort in the first half. We’ll regroup, figure it out and get a little better all offseason. We have a great group, so we’ll take it from here. It is too bad. We wanted that one last opportunity.

On what the team needs to do to reach the next level…
We’re so close. It’s going to be about everybody committing to this team with an unsure future. That’s hard, but I think we have the guys that can stay committed. We have the guys that can work out on their own if there are no offseason workouts. Who knows what’s going to happen, so we’re going to need guys to get together on their own, study on their own and be ready to go as soon as the season starts up again. Hopefully, it’s right on schedule, but we’re just going to have to get a little better individually. We’ll make the right changes on offense, defense and special teams. We’ll get better, but I’m proud of our effort. I’m proud our coaches and our players. It was a great year, a tough way to go out, but I’m proud of our guys.

On whether the loss is something you have to shake off or something you have to remember…
Inevitably, you’re going to think about it. I’ll think about it tomorrow morning and for the next few months, but it’s supposed to hurt. It can’t feel good. It’s too bad. We have a good group.

On whether he worries the window of opportunity is closing for this team…
I don’t think that, not with Rex (Ryan), not with the kind of management we have (and) not with the players we seem to get every year. I know there is a lot of turnover each year. Who knows who is going to be back? Who knows when the season is going to start? I’m confident we have the right people in place, from the trainers to the equipment managers to the coaches, and we’ll get the right players and we’ll figure it out. We’ll get a little bit better. We’ll be ready to play next year.

On Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes…
They’re a quarterback’s best friend. Them, a great defense (and) a good running game like we had, it makes it easy on a quarterback. We’ll do our best to keep them. I know it’s not totally realistic to be able to keep both, but we’ll figure it out and I’m confident in Mike Tannenbaum trying to get the best players back.

On how his shoulder is feeling…
I’m feeling good. The exit physical went really well. The doctors are pleased, so we’ll just take it from there. I’ll probably get it looked at these next couple of days, but the most important thing is that it got better every week. That’s huge. We’re very positive about it. We’ll just get it looked at and move on from there, but I’m optimistic.

On whether it is too soon to put his first two seasons in perspective and be proud of them…
Sure, I’m proud to be a Jet. I’m proud to be in this building and come to work here every day. There is nothing to hang our heads about. It’s a tough way to go out, but we have a great group and we’ll be right back next year and, hopefully, we’ll be a little better. It’s a little too early for me to reflect on everything, but I’m happy to be here. I love it here. (We’ll) get a little better.

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