Mark Sanchez is reportedly Rex Ryan's preferred starter in the fall. Credit: Getty Images Mark Sanchez is reportedly Rex Ryan's preferred starter in the fall.
Credit: Getty Images

Mark Sanchez sounds like someone who is ready to battle for the spot under center.

Following Thursday’s organized team activities, Sanchez addressed the ever-brewing quarterback controversy. The competition got a little less crowded Wednesday with the retirement of David Garrard, who called it quits due to a long-standing knee injury.

“He was one of those guys that I felt like I’d be able to bounce my ideas off of, having that veteran experience,” Sanchez said. “So, it’s tough to see a guy go like that and you just wish him the best health-wise first, and then, he has a career to celebrate, he played a long time in this league and did a heck of a job. It was great to be around him in the short time I had with him and we wish him nothing but the best.”

 

Taking Garrard out of the picture doesn’t change Sanchez’s perception heading into June’s minicamp and then training camp a month later.

“Nothing’s changed. My mindset is the same,” Sanchez said. “Just stay focused, master this offense, improve on my fundamentals, be as accurate as possible, take care of the football and lead this team.”

Sanchez looked a lot like his rookie self in his fourth season in the league in 2012. He was unsure in the pocket, held onto the ball too long, went consistently with his first read and forced way too many passes.

For the second time in his career and the first since his rookie season in 2009, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

Now with Garrard out of the picture, Sanchez will be locked in a quarterback battle with second-round pick Geno Smith in addition to Greg McElroy, who replaced Sanchez in Week 15 last year and then started over him the next game. If he wants to be the starter, Sanchez will need to cut down on his turnovers which means throwing the ball away more.
He’s been working on that in practice.

“Guys will raise their hands if they’re open, and if no one raises their hands, you’re either running or throwing it away,” Sanchez said. “That’s kind of the drill. I think it’s valuable and I think it’s one of those things that we aim to address.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.

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