Mark Sanchez, the New York Jets starting quarterback, spoke candidly about Tim Tebow, Chad Pennington and leaving USC early to declare for the NFL draft. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
New York Jets starting quarterback Mark Sanchez sat down for an interview with Yahoo! Sports Jason Cole on Tuesday at the teams facility in Florham Park, N.J. and talked about a number of topics including what it was like for the Jets to land Tim Tebow, having Chad Pennington as a mentor and leaving the University of Southern California early to declare for the NFL Draft.
On the Jets signing Tim Tebow to back up Sanchez:
Tim is making whatever he makes, he's a good leader, a great person, a hard worker and he plays quarterback and he can do other stuff. Why not go get him? Yeah, does he come with more attention than other players? Sure, but who cares? To me, if I can't handle that, I shouldn't play here. A funny aside to the whole thing: After we traded for Tim, I'm in the weight room feeling good, feeling big, thick, really in shape. I'm doing pull-ups with extra weight on. I'm doing squats, the whole thing. Then here comes Tim, the Incredible Hulk. I'm doing the pull ups with the extra weight and then he does them with two kettle bells and he just powers through them. He's just an ox. He was awesome and I'm like, 'OK, I'm not at that level.' It was funny. He's just a monster. He has been a really great guy to be around.
On looking to Chad Pennington for advice:
I think the most important stat line from last year was turnovers. So anything I can do to eliminate turnovers, that's what I'm going to do. That's why I called [Pennington]. You look at Chad and, number one, he has played for [new Jets offensive coordinator Tony] Sparano before, so that was natural right there. It made a grand slam [with] him being one of the most cerebral quarterbacks in the game the past few years, up there with Peyton Manning. [He's] a great decision maker, knows when to throw the ball away, knows when to check it down, knows when to take a sack, call a timeout, how to run a two-minute drill. He knows how to save turnovers and that's key to me. If we save four or five turnovers last season, we're looking at a different season and a different last three games and who knows.
On leaving USC early and declaring for the NFL draft:
Leaving school was pretty hard. My parents' divorce was really hard. I was young and I didn't really get it. But when I got older it was like, 'Oh, now I get it.' I lived with my mom at first and then my dad. Leaving school was tough because everybody wanted me to stay. Everybody in my family wanted me to stay. That was probably the first big decision where I went against the grain of what my family had played.