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Serby's Sunday Q&A with Mark Sanchez


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The Post's Steve Serby caught up with Mark Sanchez at the "Good Morning America" studios, where the Jets quarterback/heartthrob talked about his team, his Super Bowl obsession, his quarterbacking and his locked-out offseason. He also announced that he is teaming up with Sam's Club to raise awareness for the 2011 Giving Made Simple campaign


Q: How badly do you want to win a Super Bowl?

A: I need it. It's about time.

Q: You need it?

A: Need it. Our team needs it. Our fans want it bad. We want it even more. And we have that kind of team, so. . .

Q: Emmitt Smith once said he "needs" to win ... explain what that means.

A: I think it's because you hate losing, you're afraid to lose. You're afraid to ... not fail ... but you just don't want to ... you don't want it to not work out, you worked too hard for it. You're excited to win and you want to win and you need to win to keep going.

Q: Is this the year the Jets get over the hump?

A: Are you asking me, or are you asking me and Rex (Ryan) (laugh)?

Q: I'm asking you and Rex.

A: Quote Rex (smile). He said we're going to win, so we better win.

Q: How about you -- is this the year the Jets get over the hump?

A: We better. I'll be sick again all offseason (chuckle).

Q: Do you have a good feeling that it will be?

A: I have a great feeling.

Q: Because why?

A: We've got a good squad. Got a veteran group coming back. We've been to that AFC Championship Game two times. Rex has been to it three times in a row ... about time you win.

Q: How much better do you have to play for this team to win a Super Bowl?

A: In the playoffs I've played well. I think it's being consistent in the regular season ... just getting a couple more easy completions a game that I've let slip away. Maybe during the regular season those little completions can help. ... [My] completion percentage should be higher, I think ... getting completions early. ... It's about getting off to a good start. You look at all the guys that throw 70-plus percent -- [Drew] Brees, [Peyton] Manning, [Tom] Brady -- and they start off the game 6-for-7. They don't start off 2-for-8, and then have to play catchup the whole game. So I think that's been something I've identified just in watching film this offseason.

Q: Are we talking 60 percent completion percentage?

A: Oh, higher than that.

Q: 65?

A: Got to be. You shoot for at least 70 a year. That's like where you're going for, but your first couple of years (chuckle) it's a harder to do that than just saying it.

Q: Seventy is Joe Montana-esque.

A: That's what we need to win.

Q: So you think that's a realistic goal for you, 70 percent?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Did you watch the Super Bowl?

A: Not really ... just highlights.

Q: You purposely avoided watching it?

A: I just ... I don't know (chuckle) ... we're not playing.

Q: Randy Moss -- could he fit in on your team?

A: I think he's a great player. I think our team will do whatever it takes, acquire whoever we need to win -- whether it's Randy Moss, whether it's Braylon [Edwards], Santonio [Holmes], Brad Smith, you name it -- we'll do whatever it takes. I just hope we figure this thing out soon so I know who I'm throwing to, instead of waiting and waiting and waiting.

Q: Once free agency starts, would you or have you recruited anybody?

A: I don't even know if I need to recruit anybody to our team (smile). I think they've seen so much with "Hard Knocks," they see how Rex is -- guys will be beating down the door. I don't even think they need my help.

Q: Ideally, you'd like Santonio and Braylon back?

A: Sure. The more guys we get back from last year, the better, I think.

Q: How intriguing would Plaxico Burress and/or Randy Moss be, specifically in the red zone?

A: Both of those guys -- big-body targets. I've seen how a guy like Braylon -- a tall guy like that, athletic, great hands -- those kind of guys can really bail you out, especially in the red zone. And that's where we struggled last year.

Q: Randy Moss would be no problem for you?

A: I'm ... very fortunate, because, sure, I'm going to be a third-year quarterback and maybe guys don't have the kind of command that I do in their third year, but we have the veteran leadership. We have the LaDainian Tomlinsons, Darrelle Revises, Nick Mangolds who want to win no matter what. So it's, "Hey men, check your baggage at the door" for everybody. You saw how close our team was during any kind of (chuckle) media deal last year. ... Guys rallied together. Nobody called anybody out. It was all handled the right way inside the building.

Q: Do you think Shonn Greene is ready to be the lead back?

A: I feel like we've had similar seasons our first two years, where we've been inconsistent in the regular season, and then Shonn's breaking away on long touchdown runs ... punishing people running the ball ... and that's when my completion percentage goes up, that's when I start throwing more touchdown passes, less interceptions, taking care of the ball, he's not fumbling. ... We're really on our game when we need to be. So for us to be consistent through the regular season and then really turn it on in the playoffs again, that'll be big for us, and he's ready for that role.

Q: What did you think of Rex's comment that the Giants are now the Jets' little brothers?

A: (Laugh) Par for the course for Rex. I don't think any team or player he talks about is ever thrilled about what he says about them. He likes to stir things up.

Q: What's your view of the Giants and Jets in this town?

A; Oh it's a great town to play ball. ... I'm not Rex (chuckle).

Q: Could you sense the shocking lack of emotion in the first half of the AFC Championship game in the locker room that day, or during the week?

A: I don't think you can feel those things, that one was like a freak thing. I don't think a race-car driver knows he's going to go out and crash his car.

Q; What are you expecting from [running back] Joe McKnight this year?

A: Honestly, if he's been working out like the way I've seen him, and uses his talent like I know he can, he could really help.

Q: If the Jets can't keep Brad Smith?

A: I'll run the Wildcat (smile). I know. Thank you. I've been studying the Wildcat playbook.

Q: You have?

A: No, heck no.

Q: So who would run it?

A: Not me.

Q: Why not you? Why would you be opposed to it?

A: (Chuckle) I don't know. ... I don't think anybody wearing a knee brace needs to run the Wildcat.

Q: How's your shoulder by the way?

A: Great. Feels really good.

Q: And your knee?

A: Great.

Q: Do you think [Vladimir] Ducasse will make a contribution this year?

A: I think so. I've seen him every day at this facility we've been training at in Jersey, but he looks strong, he looks big, he's hungry, he's excited. It's cool to see because he was so quiet when he first came in. And now, he's been training with Bart [scott] for so long, I'm sure Bart's been just talking his ear off, and now he's finally got something to say back, which is good (chuckle), and it's funny to hear. It's good to see.

Q: Dustin Keller, Pro Bowl?

A: (Chuckle) If his quarterback is a little better. Think there's a lot of guys that should be in the Pro Bowl that I could help a little more.

Q: What makes a good leader, and how would you characterize your leadership style?

A: All the best ones get the best out of the people around them. They're motivators too. And they set the right example, I think. I'm doing my best to do that, I think. I'm not always the vocal guy, but I will when I need to. I think that's more important to me, not how many times you speak, but the quality and the importance and the meaning of what you're saying. And when guys know I'm not just calling a team meeting every 10 minutes, then it's like, it gets old and guys are immune to it. But when you call guys together, it's got to be something important, and you have to have a message and get to it right away and then understand once you say that, you're accountable for what you said to them.

Q: You've grown much more comfortable in the huddle.

A: Now it's: "We got all the time in the world, man, we got 50 seconds!" (chuckle). That's the kind of demeanor you develop, and you almost have to trick yourself in your head -- "Hey, stay calm, relax. We got this."

Q: What's the level of animosity between the Jets and Patriots?

A: I don't know, see, like every time we play them, I have the ultimate respect, for their team, for their franchise, for the way they go about their business. They're quiet, they stick to their task, they try and master their trade, and they go, and play, and they don't say much. And I think [Tom] Brady's done it just about better than anybody, arguably better than anybody for the past decade or so. I got a lot of respect for 'em, I love playing 'em though. I love playing against those guys. There's that added pressure of the rivalry, there's that added emotion, because of our coaches haven't always said the nicest things to each other, which is good, it's good for the game, it's good for the fans, they love it, and it's a challenge. If I saw any of 'em today, at a Broadway show, just like anybody else: "What's up, man? How are ya? You guys play really well."

Q: Are you guys the team to beat in the division, or are they?

A: They've been the team these past two years, at least that I've been here, and it's our job to change it.

Q: If you had caught Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit, which happened to be a home run, what would you have done with it?

A: I think [Christian Lopez] did the right thing, giving it back. ... I'm glad he didn't try to make him pay or anything like that. I might ask for a dinner or something (smile).

Q: Jeter still hasn't gotten married. Do you think you might go that route and stay single throughout your career?

A: I mean, if anybody's the best model for playing in New York, it's him. Most consistent, most successful, good guy on and off the field. That's the model to follow. I mean, who knows? I might meet her tomorrow.

Q: Has the lockout helped or hurt the Jets?

A: I think it hurt every team. I think it hurt us maybe less than other teams. I think it hurt the teams that made it to the championship games maybe less. I think if it hurt one team the least, it's probably been the Packers. They got everybody back, they don't have the free agents like we have.

Q: How weird has this offseason been for you?

A: I think it's gotten even more weird these last few weeks, just because this is really that time when you start pushing to make those final adjustments in your preparation and your workout regimen -- and you're not doing it with the guys you're used to being around.

Q: What's your weight?

A: I'm 232. A good-looking 232 (laugh).

Q: Is that the heaviest you've been?

A: No, I probably was more in college [uSC] at one point. Probably like my freshman, sophomore year. I wasn't playing as much (smile). That late-night eating.

Q: You're eager to reunite with your coaches.

A: I can't wait just to get in, and get into that film that I've watched so many times on my own.

Q: You loved "Lombardi" on Broadway. ... Who would play Rex?

A: (Pause, then smile) His [twin] brother [Rob]. His brother would crush him!

Q: What's it like having the hopes and dreams of a city and a championship-starved fan base on your shoulders?

A: It's all of us, though. Sure, I'm the face, and Rex is the face, and people hang on interviews like this, they want to hear, "OK, what did he say, what's really gonna happen?" I have no magic promise, guarantee or anything like that, but we'll be the best-prepared team, we'll be the hardest-working team, we'll be tough, so ... I don't feel like, "Oh man I really have to do this ..." I put that pressure on myself.

Q: Would your career be unfulfilled without a Super Bowl championship?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Because?

A: You play in Pop Warner because you're making friends and having fun, you play in high school to get a scholarship, you play in college to get drafted, and then, this is the only thing you're playing for. Everybody watches around the world.

Q: What do you hope Jets fans say about you, now and in the future?

A: He's a competitor. He's a winner. Hard-working guy ... leader. And, um, Super Bowl champ (laugh).


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