Not a week goes by without the New York Jets making headlines in some form or fashion. On Monday night, the Jets lost their preseason opener, 20-16, to the Houston Texans. But it was the Monday evening report about Mark Sanchez's comments in the current issue of GQ that are more headline worthy than a meaningless preseason exhibition.
At times, Mark Sanchez is the personification of California cool, but his competitive fire raged last season when Rex Ryan told reporters he considered benching his quarterback in the third quarter of a December loss to the Miami Dolphins.
"I wanted to fight him," Sanchez says in the current issue of GQ magazine, which features the New York Jets' star on the cover. "I was really mad."
The Jets, of course, were mired in a two-game losing streak in which they managed just 9 points. At 9-4, the Jets were still in solid shape, but Rex Ryan knew that the Patriots were on a roll and that the Ravens and Steelers would post solid records. Sanchez wasn't about to let his string of shoddy performances keep him out of the lineup though.
The third-year quarterback refused to yield to Brunell in practice, according to the GQ article. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer tried to get Sanchez out of the huddle, reiterating that Ryan wanted Brunell to take reps.
Sanchez refused to budge.
"I was like, 'He can come tell me,'" Sanchez tells GQ. "And (Schottenheimer) is like, 'Come on, man, don't do that.'"
"I was really upset about that," he told ESPNNewYork.com. "That's a pride thing. Those are my reps and I take a lot of pride in playing. I knew I hadn't been playing well, but regardless, I was going to prove I was The Guy. "(Brunell) told me after that, 'That's pretty cool. I never saw anybody do that. Pretty cool.'"
Brunell, 40, who has become a mentor to Sanchez, said he wasn't offended by Sanchez's behavior. Actually, he applauded it.
"It was his huddle, his team and he was exactly right," Brunell said. "I like that. He was pretty fired up about it, but that was the response we were looking for. He came out in that Pittsburgh game and went on a streak."
Sanchez obviously still has a long way to go with his development as a quarterback. But I've always been a believer in him because he's the alpha dog in a locker room full of alpha dogs. To me, this only solidifies my belief that he's going to continue improving and leading the Jets back into a position where they can make a run more Lombardi Trophies.