Mark Sanchez wants everyone to know that he has a clear head.
Following a physical beating on Sunday night in the Jets’ 27-24 comeback win over the Cowboys, the third-year quarterback underwent precautionary tests to guard against a possible concussion. Sanchez appeared quiet and subdued during his post-game interview on Sunday night and speculation abounded that he had suffered a concussion at some point in the game.
The Jets quarterback, despite being sacked four times, intercepted twice and fumbling once, still threw for 315 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“I feel good,” Sanchez said on Wednesday. “I felt like we just had a physical game, and the training staff just wanted to be extra cautious and make sure I’m doing well especially at the beginning of the season so I can make it through the long haul, but I feel good.”
On Monday, the Jets medical staff put Sanchez through a series of baseline tests to make sure he didn’t have a concussion, a diagnosis which would have sidelined him for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville. All the tests came back negative and it appears that Sanchez went through nothing more than an incredibly physical game.
Head coach Rex Ryan said that it was four hours worth of tests, but the end result is that his quarterback will be on the field this weekend against the Jaguars.
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“There are no concerns,” Ryan said. “We all saw that he took some hits, so everything that we did was more precautionary. We’ll do that with any of our players because one thing we know about players, sometimes they are so competitive that sometimes you do want to make sure that everything is fine. I’m happy to report that he passed with flying colors.”
Not surprisingly, Sanchez practiced on Wednesday, but the emphasis on Sunday may be less on the Jets quarterback and more of the ground game.
The four sacks Sanchez suffered is a concern for an offensive line that allowed too much pressure on their quarterback, particularly along a right side of the line. Confounding the issue was that Sanchez was in the pocket more than the Jets would have liked, throwing 44 passes due to an ineffective ground game. The team’s leading rushers — LaDainian Tomlinson and Shone Greene — combined for 42 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Those numbers are a concern in their own right, but the inability of the offense to either ground or pound is a major reason why Sanchez took a pounding of his own.
“He got knocked down about 10 times last week, so clearly, you don’t want that to happen,” Ryan said. “We need to do a better job of protecting him and we need to be able to run the ball better, so I think that kind of goes hand-in-hand.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.