Mark Sanchez will mentor Geno Smith at this week’s “Jets West” camp in Southern California, but he won’t see it as prepping his replacement.
After a dismal, “buttfumbled” 2012 campaign, Sanchez knows Jets training camp will be an open competition between him and Smith, whom the Jets drafted No. 39 overall in April. Sanchez said this week that he welcomes the pressure, but he’s not too worried about the outcome.
“When it’s a straight-up competition for the job, let’s roll,” Sanchez told ESPN.com. “It really doesn’t bother me at all. It really doesn’t affect my confidence or anything like that. We’re competing for something. All right, I’m going to win. That’s just how I am.”
When it comes to winning, Sanchez has not been that guy in some time. After reaching the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons, the Jets have failed to produce a winning record with Sanchez at the helm. He hit rock bottom last season, ranking among the NFL’s worst in every major passing category while New York limped to a 6-10 record — the worst of Sanchez’s career.
Sanchez said he hasn’t changed since those two trips to the AFC title game, which may not be the most encouraging news for head coach Rex Ryan to hear. Sanchez’s rookie year in 2009 was the worst statistical season of his career, while 2010 was only marginally better.
“I’ve been that guy; nothing has changed,” Sanchez said. “The results haven’t been what we wanted, but I haven’t changed. You don’t just switch and say, ‘This year, I’m going to do it.’ You have to be that guy at all times. I’m confident I can go out and make the plays for this team to win. You can’t guarantee wins and you can’t promise anything like that, but I know we’ll be the best-prepared team and the hardest-working team. We’ll have the potential to have a good season.”
Jets training camp opens Thursday, July 25.