Mark Sanchez came under pressure at the end of last season as the New York Jets narrowly missed out on the NFL playoffs, but the 2011 season was statistically the best of Sanchez's career. The Jets rewarded him with a three-year contract extension and he'll be their starting quarterback again in 2012.
SB Nation had a chance to talk to Sanchez at an event hosted by Degree Men in New Jersey, where he spoke about learning a new offense, the 'game manager' label and what it will take for the Jets to get to a Super Bowl.
On getting over the hump and finally making the Super Bowl, Sanchez talked about the Jets' need to put together a complete performance if they get back to the AFC Championship game.
"The two AFC Championship games we did play in, we only played one good half each game. It was the first half against the Colts three years ago, and then two years ago against the Steelers, the second half was great, but [in the] first half, we put ourselves in too much of a hole, so we didn't have enough time to come back."
He also talked about the Jets' new playbook and working with new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
"The first thing on my mind is the new playbook with our new offensive coordinator, coach Sparano. That first chance we had to run through those plays, I thought our offense performed very well, all things considered, against a tough defense in OTAs."
Finally, his most interesting quotes came from a question about whether or not he dislikes the term 'game manager' to describe his play as a quarterback. Not only does Sanchez not dislike the label, he embraces it.
"I think you have to be a game manager. The most important thing is leading your team down the field, acquiring first down after first down, and then putting the ball in the end zone or getting a field goal. Whatever that game calls for, if it calls for a big play at the end of the game, I'm ready for that. If it calls for playing conservative, smart, if we're going to play a grind it out, ground and pound kind of game, then that's fine as well and you have to be able to adapt."