Transcript: QB Mark Sanchez, 5.20

On not saying anything about going to the White House…

I don’t know if I had to keep it quiet, but I guess I just didn’t mention it until we knew it was final.  We were working on transportation to get there, so we wanted to make sure we could do it before we said anything and then had to back out.  It was a great experience and something I’ll remember.  I kept my menu and my nametag and so did Brick (D’Brickashaw Ferguson).

On choosing D’Brickashaw Ferguson to go with him…

I figured (President Barack) Obama, (Mexico President Felipe) Calderon. Brick, Sanchez. A Mexican guy, a black guy (laughter).  No, I’m just kidding.  I know Brick’s into politics.  He looks like a governor.  He could definitely be a governor or something.  It just felt right to take a teammate and someone who’d be interested.  He was definitely that and he had a great time.

On if he chose Ferguson because he protects his blind side…

I mean, that could have something to do with it (smiling).  All those guys up front are valuable.  They’re giving me a hard time about it, “Why couldn’t you bring all of us?” They understand.  It felt good to take a teammate. Brick’s the guy.

On if he’ll participate in any 11-on-11 drills during OTAs…

I’m trying.  I’m asking every day.  It’s a stern, “No,” immediately.  That’s the kind of mentality you want your coaches to have because they’re protecting you and that’s the kind of mentality the coaches want me to have, that I’m aggressive and ready to go.  It’s just not worth taking a chance.  What if somebody falls?  What if I have to move too quickly and I’m not ready for it yet?  It’s not worth the risk.  We’re just taking it slow and being smart and doing what I can.

On if his knee is on his mind…

No, I feel really good.  The most important thing is in our rehab doing the same moves, like planning and throwing during the rehab with weight vests so I get used to it, get that strength back and trust my front leg when you step and throw.  Our dialogue in the rehab is, “Trust your leg. It’s strong enough.  Feel  it, know it’s strong enough and let it go.” That’s what I’m working on. On the first day back, Monday, there’s a mental recovery to this too, a psychological side.  Telling yourself you’re fine.  Telling yourself, ‘Hey, I’m ready to come back.  I’m ok.  Step on your foot, put all the weight on it and let these throws go.’ I think (in) the first few days, I got my feet under me and today I felt a little better.

On if he could ever have imagined he would be going to a state dinner at the White House…

Absolutely not.

On if it has sunken in yet…

No.  I felt incredibly fortunate, me and my family, to be a part of this organization and to have the teammates we have, the head coach, and the management.  Trust me, I count my blessings every day.  It’s a special position.  Right now is a time of the year where you get to do a lot of charity work helping out the other guys on the team and when you go to these events you see how fortunate you are.  You meet youngsters terminally ill with cancer who in this one great day get to meet the New York Jets.  You get so caught up in your busy days, your OTAs, your rehab, when really, that’s nothing.  It’s negligible.  There (are) other bigger issues out there.  It’s this time of the year when you really get to realize that.  Then, the icing on the cake, you get to go to the White House and meet the President, meet the President of Mexico and his wife, who happens to be a huge Jets fan.  You have a welcome line with the Presidents and the wives and we saw President Obama and Michelle Obama and President Calderon and the first lady, Senora Zavala.  She had a Sanchez jersey and pulled it out of her purse (laughter).  It was pretty funny.  Everyone was taken aback and was like, “Wow.”  It was pretty special.  The entertainment, Beyonce killed it, unbelievable.  I’ve never heard anything like it.  It was sweet and Jay-Z was there.  They had Rodrigo and Gabriella (who) are really talented guitarists.  It was pretty cool.  The tent set-up was beautiful.

On if there was any conversation with Ferguson about needing to come back to the White House…

That was my frame of mind almost the entire time while I was trying to enjoy everything and hanging on to the napkin with the country seal on it.  I knew we were scoping out this territory and we’re coming back in February.  That’s in the back of your head.  Now, Brick and I will know where to go, so we’ll just lead guys around and throw in a tour.

On if he’ll be able to participate in 11-on-11 drills in minicamp…

I don’t know how I’ll feel in the next couple of weeks.  I do know that I’m getting better every day and I haven’t had any regression.  That’s huge.  If on one of these first couple of days this thing swells up and shuts down my quad, then we have a problem, but it hasn’t done that yet.  If we keep progressing, I’m optimistic.  I’m trying to make it back.  In my head, am I going to be back?  Absolutely, but we don’t know that for sure, so we’ll just play it by ear.

On if there is anything he feels he is physically unable to do at this point…

I haven’t tried to sprint.  I haven’t tried to scramble.  I haven’t had to move in the pocket real quickly.  7-on-7 with your drop is pretty scripted.  You’re not moving anywhere.  You don’t have to avoid anybody.  I think that would be the only question left, just reaction time and quickness in the pocket which is something I feel good about in general.  I’m trying to get that strength back and be ready to go.  I think that has to be the only thing.

On the immigration laws in Arizona…

When it comes to politics, my candid answer is, I’m football player and it doesn’t matter what I think. The most important thing is you see both sides.  I haven’t read the legislature, so I won’t pass judgment on it.  I understand both sides have a point to be made.  While people coming across the border or people here who may appear like they’ve come across the border, if I said that hopefully politically correct, we don’t want to racially profile anyone, just like in an airport you don’t want to racially profile anyone. Same situation.  At the same time, if you live in Arizona and somebody’s coming over in to your territory, it’s like, “What’s going on?  We need some sort of rule to stop that.”  I wouldn’t pass judgment on it until I read the legislature.  I’m interested in the topic, but at this point I don’t know enough about it to comment further.

On if he’ll be given more freedom with the offense this season or if he’ll try to force the coaching staff to feel like he’s ready…

That’s part of it.  This offense goes as the quarterback goes.  The more I can handle, the more we’ll do.  At this point, I feel like I’m leaps and bounds ahead of last year, but at the same time I have miles to go if that makes sense.  It’ll be about our chemistry.  It’ll be about my knowledge of protections.  The perfect example is the (first) Indianapolis game and we’re letting Dwight Freeney go.  I remember you guys asking, “How could they let that guy go right in your face?”  That’s on the quarterback.  That ball’s got to be out immediately.  You protect yourself.  That’s how you learn.  You grow up playing this gam
e and you learn to do that and release the ball quickly and not turn your back to a guy like that knowing the protection.  This year, in that situation, that should never happen again.  In my career, that should never happen again.  Are we going to be able to do more stuff like that?  I would hope so.  It’s going to take me proving to the coaches, without doing too much, that I learned from that.  Let’s move and let’s expand on this offense.

On how a receiver like Santonio Holmes will help expand the offense…

One, his talent, his speed, his quickness, his understanding of the game, he’s pretty special and his attitude is even better.  A lot of people would have said, "How are these guys going to get along?"  “I want the ball, throw me the ball, do this, do that.”  These guys are not that way.  They are, “Hey, am I sitting down on this crossing route or am I running full speed all across the field?”  He’s asking J. Co (Jerricho Cotchery).  He’s asking Braylon (Edwards).  Braylon’s asking J. Co. These guys are talking together.  That’s the conversations we’re talking about.  Am I looking hot off of two linebackers or one? That’s what we’re talking about, not, “Man, he gets all the balls, not me.”  It’s laughable when people talk about chemistry.  I don’t know if Rex (Ryan) already said it, but he’s like, “The only chemistry we don’t have is chemistry in class.  In chemistry class, I wouldn’t pick any of you.”  That’s what he told the team.  He was like, “But chemistry when it comes to just hanging out and playing football, we’ll be fine.”  Santonio is going to be a huge asset and will help us expand the offense.