Here's five takeaways from Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez's media session with reporters on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
1. He’s got personality.
Taking the podium for the first time at Redskins Park, quarterback Mark Sanchez seemed loose, light and not at all like the next week of cramming a playbook, which he only received 14 days ago, was going to be a large burden for him.
Experience, both in the NFL and talking to the media, certainly helps with that disposition, and that translated into some fun moments between him and the media Wednesday afternoon.
That included a joke about his first snap in the Eagles game, in which he handed the ball off to Adrian Peterson, who ran for a 90-yard touchdown.
"Yeah that was a pretty good handoff huh?” he said. “That was crazy. I mean, I saw him make the cut back and I was like oh ok AP, get loose, oh my God! I'm looking around for flags, like holy crap this is awesome. I'm glad I wasn’t mic'd up that was really funny.”
Later, when asked about the infamous “butt fumble” that follows his name around to this day, Sanchez wasn’t afraid to punch back, with a smile of course.
"Like I said, what are you going to do? It was a crappy play in a game where we were getting our butts kicked. Some low hanging fruit, so that was an easy reach for you,” Sanchez. “I'm just kidding; I'm just kidding [Laughter]. Come on, you can give it to me; I can give it right back. Come on now, thick skin in here right now. No listen. Who cares? It is one play and you just move on. I prefer to remember the good stuff. You seem like a Doomsdayer [Laughter]."
2. His teammate’s support has been important for his initiation to the Redskins
For a quarterback inheriting a 6-6 team, still with a chance to make the playoffs, feeling support from the organization is a vital component for a successful product on the field.
Although this is a nightmare scenario for Washington, those on the roster have done their best in making Mark Sanchez feel comfortable as he initiates himself this week and takes the reins of the offense.
“It's huge and whenever your peers recognize – one they recognize the situation and two they understand how hard I'm willing to work – that means a lot,” Sanchez said. “Peer recognition, in my opinion is the most important thing, especially when you get to the top of your profession. These guys are the best of the best and everywhere they come from, they're the all-star, their names, their jerseys are hung up in their high school gyms, so when those start to recognize and say hey this guy is here to work, he's here to win, he's on board and he'll do whatever it takes, that means the world to me. They've just reciprocated that to me and I'll just keep my head down and work and learn a lot on the way as well."
3. His experience has given him better perspective on the final quarter of the season
Before Monday night, the last game Sanchez played in was also in Philadelphia, as a member of the Cowboys at the end of the 2016 season. That being said, he’s been to the playoffs, he’s taken the New York Jets on playoff runs and knows what it takes.
This next step of his football career is unexpected but despite the gap in playing time, he still feels prepared to finish the season believing the Redskins have an opportunity to be successful.
“I just remember my rookie year, we were about right here,” Sanchez said of being 6-6. “I didn’t know any different, I'm like; 6-6? We won a bunch of games in college, we won a bunch of games in high school, either we suck as a team, or I'm playing crappy, like this is all bad, everything. There's no way we are going to do anything about it. I just remember the older guys going, 'Hey man we've got this last quarter of the season, just wait.' The Nick Mangold's, the Alan Faneca's, the Bart Scott's, those guys, just hang in there. Trust the process, go through your reads, make sure you throw it to the right color jersey and we'll be just fine.
He added: “Those kinds of pep talks to a 22-year old rookie, these guys just don’t know. They've never experienced that and until I went through it, you don’t realize how close 6-6 is. You get to 10-6, I mean we've just got to get to 7-6 first, but you just get to 10-6, then we're talking playoffs. We're talking about something important and so that’s the global scale and now it's ok. We understand what we are doing, let's get right here. Let's get right down to the most important thing and that’s playing on Sunday, at home, in front of our fans. Let's go execute, let's just go execute and see what happens. Don’t worry about all that stuff in the future; we know what's at stake. But, let's just execute, see what happens, have fun at this practice, let's go knock out this walkthrough, let's go get through this practice, let's get that lift. Let's see what happens.”
4. This week is all about getting on the same page
Colt McCoy, understandably, received all of the first-team snaps last week. Now, Sanchez is in his position, trying to get on a rapport as quickly as possible with his targets while also digesting the playbook.
This week, slightly condensed after playing on Monday night, will focus heavily on learning tendencies, cadences, terminology and rhythm. Those become the foundation for a more successful outing on Sunday, something that Sanchez, and even the offensive line, didn’t quite have when they were thrust into action.
“I'm thinking how I've seen this guy run a route or whatever and I just keep reminding myself that you're not running the line on the page, you're running the route,” Sanchez said. “These guys are going to run their routes, they're going to have their nuances and it's going to be up to us to get a couple extra reps here and there. Talk about some stuff. Watch some tape together and whatever it takes to get the completion, to get the first down, to put us in field goal position, to put us in scoring position, we've got to do it. Like I said, we have a bunch of guys that are really championing the cause and they know what to do. They know how to bring other guys along and we're excited to work together."
5. He’ll lean on coaches to help understand his playmakers’ tendencies
Because he can’t accelerate the learning process with every player on the roster, Sanchez will use the coaching staff and meetings to give him a better sense of how best to use his wide receivers and tight ends.
Head coach Jay Gruden said that they’ll determine which concepts the Giants like to throw with the kinds of looks the Redskins expect to use, and then build from there.
"Oh man, there are certain concepts that Coach [Jay Gruden] likes, that I like, a lot of those just kind of create a little Venn diagram there and whatever lands in the middle there you know,” Sanchez said. “What our guys do well, and I'm really in a great spot, because the coordinator, quarterback coach, they know me really well. They also know these players and they can relay some of that information, like hey when he runs that specific route just be ready for this as an indicator or whatever it is. There are a million nuances that you are never going to completely grasp but enough to play a game and play well."