When Mark Sanchez and the Jets finally part ways -- and that could happen after the team pays him his guaranteed $8.25 million salary this season -- the former first-round pick will probably best be remembered for variations on a buttfumblin' theme, both on and off the field.
But Sanchez has one last chance to redeem his good name and he plans to do just that. First things first, however: he needs to win the starting job over 2013 second-rounder Geno Smith.
"When it's a straight-up competition for the job, let's roll," Sanchez told ESPNNewYork.com in a recent interview. "It really doesn't bother me at all. It really doesn't affect my confidence or anything like that. We're competing for something. All right, I'm going to win. That's just how I am."
Despite a forgettable 2012 season in which Sanchez threw 13 TDs versus 18 INTs, fumbled 14 times (losing eight), was sacked another 34, and was benched late in the season for Greg McElroy, the beleaguered quarterback still loves the organization that drafted him fifth overall in 2009. (This may or may not have something to do with the aforementioned $8.25 million he'll make this season -- guaranteed.)
"I love being here, I love playing here," said Sanchez, who was part of back-to-back Jets teams that made it to the AFC Championship game in his first two years. "We've tasted success here and we've seen that formula work and we're getting back to that. There was a little adversity last year. Call it a little, call it a lot, call it whatever. It doesn't affect the way I train, the way I work."
And Sanchez is training -- working -- to be atop the depth chart when the season starts. And more than that, he expects to win.
"The results haven't been what we wanted, but I haven't changed," he said. "You don't just switch and say, 'This year, I'm going to do it.' You have to be that guy at all times.
"I'm confident I can go out and make the plays for this team to win," Sanchez continued. "You can't guarantee wins and you can't promise anything like that, but I know we'll be the best-prepared team and the hardest-working team. We'll have the potential to have a good season."
We suppose it doesn't hurt to have a coach who claims he's a lot better than he's given credit for.