With no Darrelle Revis in town due to a hold-out, all eyes focused on Mark Sanchez to see how his surgically repaired knee would fair on the first day of training camp. In between the drills, Sanchez took the most knees of any of the quarterbacks, with his helmet removed and often looking spent.
Sanchez had a hard time linking with his receivers, a frequent symptom of quarterbacks and pass-catchers during the early days of any camp. Many of his throws came off his back leg and seemed a bit disjointed. His efforts seemed to be exerted and his throwing form looked prolonged and not as short and precise as during mini-camp in June.
After the first practice, Sanchez knew there was a "rusty feel" both for himself and his teammates. Some of his passes were to low or to the back of the receivers. He expressed his disappointment in himself by throwing his hands up in despair more than once during the Monday morning session.
"We weren't as crisp and as sharp as we actually like to be if we were playing a game tomorrow but that's expected and the guys have a positive attitude about it and that's the best part," Sanchez told reporters after the morning session. "We will clean things up for the second practice and we'll progress."
Sanchez says he understands that he must take on the leadership role as the head of the team. Although he knows many people look to him to guide the team, just moments after that statement he acknowledged some double speak, stating that he also knows that he can depend on the stars around him to make plays. As long as he successfully passes the ball to the players, Sanchez is confident that the team will be fine.
"You don't have to do it alone," Sanchez said about the message from the coaching staff. "We have so many great players – get them the ball."
The Jets are counting on Sanchez progressing from last year's rookie campaign that was marred by lots of individual mistakes. Sanchez talked a lot about how he will learn from Mark Brunell, the experienced quarterback who the Jets signed last week to help mentor the second-year player. Having a role model to guide him, Sanchez says he hopes to develop further.
Sanchez acknowledges that his leadership style is different than the veteran quarterback Brunell.
" Somebody was talking about different types of leaders. I heard there is the thermostat and the thermometer. He's (Brunell) a thermostat - just set it at the temperature you want and he's got it…Its good to learn from him and feed off him because you know as a young player you are always energized and ready to go," Sanchez said. "Sometimes you find yourself on an emotional coaster when you just need to relax and let go and he's got that. I am working on being a thermostat."
Alex Voo contributes to GreenAndWhiteReport.com