Mark Sanchez, 09.09 Press Conference

Sept. 9, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) celebrates with quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

On whether he thought the offense could be this explosive…
I knew we were just capable of scoring points. I knew we had a great plan coming into the game. I had a good feeling about it all week, and I knew our shortcomings in the preseason were shortcomings in the red zone. There were penalties. (I) hit Stephen (Hill) on almost the exact same route I threw to PT (Patrick Turner) for a pick six against the Giants. You throw it right, you throw it accurately and you score. I knew we were really close in the preseason. Did I know it was 48 points? No, I didn’t necessarily know that, but that’s just a great day of execution. We still left some plays out there so it wasn’t perfect. (We’ve) still got a lot of work to do but I’m really proud of our effort and the way we moved the ball today.

On the reaction on the sideline following his interception in the first quarter…
(I) just forced the play there and tried to do a little too much. (I) should’ve just tucked it and ran, but I kept my head up and it kind of goes as the quarterback goes. If you hang your head a little too low, then guys will start to (have) questions. If you keep your head up and stay focused and stay calm and stay into it, we’ll come back and get them the next drive. Our defense bailed us out there. It’s nice to have a good defense.

On Hill’s first NFL game…
He’s still got a long way to go, but he sure did a heck of a job today, going up and catching the ball—and then the run after the catch to score. A great day for him, but he couldn’t do it without JK (Jeremy Kerley) running hard, without Chaz (Schilens) getting the crucial catch there in the two-minute (drill), Jeff Cumberland getting in the mix, Bilal Powell catching the ball, and then Santonio on some big third-down conversions – one late in the game to keep us on the field and then one early in the game to set up a touchdown later on. It was that entire receiving group, Coach Lal did a great job.

On his first touchdown pass to Kerley…

Well, there’s a couple of different options on the play. We don’t want to give away too much, but JK made a heck of a play. Those ones down in the end zone, down there tight, you’ve got to give your receiver a chance and JK made the most of it. It was a heck of a play.

On the play of Austin Howard and the offensive line…

Austin had a monster challenge today and he really did answer the call there. That was special for him. It was a big day for him and he was thrilled. He did a great job in the run game and great job in pass protection – and it was across the board. Brick (D’Brickashaw Ferguson), Slaw (Matt Slauson), B-Moore (Brandon Moore), all of them, just a heck of a job. And then Jeff Cumberland and Konrad (Reuland) really had to pick up a lot of slack there in the run game with Dustin
(Keller) down, so that was big for all of them up front. They kept me upright and that helps.

On whether he learned anything about his team today…

I know we’re a special group. I’ve known that from the jump, but I think we’re starting to realize it. It’s important to keep this whole thing in perspective. It’s a great way to start, it’s exactly what you want in your home opener, but we’ll celebrate this one for a couple more hours, then, we’ve got to get ready for Pittsburgh, because that’s going to (be) another tough challenge (and) on the road, (it is) never an easy place to play. So, we’ve got a lot to go here.

On why he embraced the Wildcat offense…

I bought in. Just like everybody on the team. Not just to the Wildcat, but to the feeling of us as a team and a unit. Transcending football, we’re a family. We’re a tight-knit group. I knew Tim (Tebow) could come in and help us. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve barely seen anything yet, so we’ve got plenty more in our grab bag of Wildcat. Tim’s an explosive guy, so he can help this offense. He did a great job today.

On sustaining a drive with the Wildcat formation…
Well, it’s something that we rep in practice. It’s something that you can never get complacent with. We’ve got to keep on repping that stuff. I’m proud of those guys, especially a new guy like Konrad (Reuland). We’ve had him for a week. I grew up with the guy, I knew he was a sharp kid, but he had a lot of work this week. So, he was running in and out, learning new packages, learning a whole new language, and he did it basically on a Sunday afternoon (laughing). He did a great job, but coach (Tony) Sparano, he’s not shy about using different personnel, and it’s our job to be ready when he calls our number and our guys were today.

On if there is a sense of vindication for the team today after the preseason criticism…
I don’t think so. One game isn’t the season. It’s not to prove anything to anybody else other than our team. Regardless of what the opinions are outside of our building, they don’t affect us. That’s the most important thing moving forward, is worrying about each other (and) caring about each other. (We need to) keep practicing harder and remember this feeling today. I told the guys in the locker room, ‘Remember this because it took a lot of work to get here, so just don’t throw it out the window. It doesn’t just happen on Sunday. It takes six days to get here and a great day of execution to have this feeling.’ So, (there is) no vindication at all.

On scoring the most points in a season opener in team history…

It’s great. Just winning the game is the most important thing. We happened to get the ball in the end zone quite a few times. (It) looks like we were making up for lost time there, but it was nice. It was a great feeling, a great start, but (we) still have a lot of improvements to make and we’ll keep working.

On what he likes the most about the way he’s throwing the ball…

Just having time to throw is the most important thing. We’re putting a lot of pressure on those guys up front to give me time and they did a great job doing that. Then, the wide outs made great plays. They’re not all perfect. The balls aren’t all perfect, but our guys found a way to catch them and get some yards after the catch, which is nice.

On if the Wildcat plays have any impact on the offense when he’s in the game…
No, it doesn’t change much. I thought Coach (Tony) Sparano did a great job just feeling out the game, putting it in at the right time and understanding when we needed specific plays. (He) tried to get everybody involved. He tried to get everybody the football at some point and that’s what happens when you go through your reads and make the right (decisions). (When) you have time to throw like we had today, different guys touch the ball, so it was great.

On if bouncing back from the interception today is a sign of his maturity…
One, it just can’t happen. That was just a poor play (and) poor decision. I’d like to think so, I’d like to think I can shake that one off. You just can’t do anything about it after the fact. You have to keep playing. The only frustrating thing is we had really started to move the ball and on a third down like that, you can’t give it up. I felt good about the game plan and nothing was going to change my focus today.

On having big plays following Wildcat plays…
I think that’s just the way that worked out today. Those Wildcat plays could be our explosive plays at some point. We still have a lot (of plays).

On Tim Tebow getting booed after being stopped for no gain…
I don’t pay attention to that stuff. I don’t pay attention (to it).

On if anything felt different this week leading up to the game…

It just felt good hearing the plan the night before in meetings, going over plays with the offense
(and) watching our last-minute bits of film with the offensive line last night. We went through
the right steps. We went through the right progression all week. We had a great practice on Wednesday, Thursday (and) Friday, knocked out the base game plan, third down and red zone (offenses). It just felt good.

On if he feels anything different personally…
I’m just confident in this team. I’m confident in the coaching staff. I told everybody early in OTA’s, there’s a good vibe going around the building. I don’t know what it is. You can’t quite put your finger on it. Rex made a great comment to us. At some point this season, everybody in our locker room is going to see that we’re all bleeding green. We’re really playing for each other. That’s the most important thing.

On if he thinks this was one of his best performances…
I don’t know, not with the pick. You can’t put (this performance) up there with the pick. That (the interception) was stupid.

On if he likes to say something to the team after the game…
No, that was just more as a reminder to individuals as we were going through (and) walking back in. There’s a fine line between really celebrating a win and enjoying it. I remember (Mark) Brunell used to tell me that all the time because I’d be quick to get in the shower, even after a big win and comeback wins and stuff. He said, “Just take a couple of minutes in your locker, man. Sit there and enjoy it.” There’s a difference between that and saying, ‘Hey, yeah, we told you so. We’re the best,’ and this and that. That’s not our deal. That’s not what we want here. It was a great win. There’s no doubt about it, but we have a lot of work to do.

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