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Welcome to the NFL, Rook!
By Sean M. Deegan
Publisher, Jets Insider.com
May 21st, 2009
Rookie QB Mark Sanchez had a day he'd like to soon forget at full team OTA's today. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
Rookie QB Mark Sanchez had a day he'd like to soon forget at full team OTA's today. (JetsInsider.com Photo)
Mark Sanchez completed his first week of full squad organized team activites this afternoon and in the lockerroom he was asked what he thought about his day. "It was a good day...for the defense,” said the QB. That about sums it up.

Sanchez finished a day where he clearly looked like he was in over his head as he's learning the offense and going against a very tough Rex Ryan veteran defense.

Welcome to the NFL, Rook!

During both 7 on 7 and full team drills Sanchez was off the mark for most of the day completing just 2 of 6 passes with 2 INT's. The first to S Erik Smith and another off a deflected J’Nathan Bullock catch attempt into the hands of CB Lito Sheppard. During an 11 on 11 2 minute drive scenario he didn’t fare much better going just 1 for 7 and only moving the team 10 yards and forcing a punt.

Veteran Kellen Clemens was a little better but not much as he went 3 for 7 during 7 on 7 drills with one pass nearly intercepted by CB Darrelle Revis. Later though he made up for it by throwing a pretty 25 yd TD to WR Brad Smith in the corner of the end zone. During the 11 on 11 two minute scenario he drove the team to the 18 thanks to a beautiful Chansi Stuckey grab downfield. He couldn't punch it in however as the drive eventually ended with a Jay Feely field goal from the 18.

Besides his erratic passing, Sanchez got an earful from both coaches and players as he was scolded by offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer on several occasions for making bad passing decisions including a dump off pass in the flat to RB Jehuu Caulcrick when a wide open Wallace Wright was downfield waiting for a TD.

“God Damn It Mark, you have to make that throw,” yelled Shotty at the rookie. He was also chastised by both LB Bart Scott and DB James Ihedigbo for bad throws and holding the ball too long in the pocket.

Sanchez feels the ribbing from his teammates and the reps against a potential elite NFL defense is a blessing.

“The defense is the best around and Coach Schotty reminds me of that every day,” said Sanchez. ”This kind of training, especially as a rookie, is so important because they are moving all over the place. They have Bart Scott playing in the middle. You don’t even know where that guy is going to end up. That’s the best and you learn on the run here. It’s been great.

Coach Rex Ryan was overall happy with the week of practice and although Sanchez had a tough week, he’s happy with his progress and the pace he’s picking things up.

"Overall the tempo for the whole week was outstanding," said Ryan. "It was great. The offense had its moments. The defense had their moments. The tempo was the thing that I was excited about the most. We are starting to understand what our expectations are for our football team and I am really encouraged by that."

The team has one more week of OTA’s and then follows with a mandatory full team minicamp starting June 9.

INSIDER TIDBITS:

-M.I.A.: Still not reporting are RB’s Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. Jones according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus join the team next week. No word on Washington yet but there reportedly is constructive dialogue between the team and his agent. S Kerry Rhodes was not present today and according to Ryan was excused for “personal reasons”. Rookie third round pick Shonn Green was sidelined with a hamstring tweak that isn't believed to be serious. Recently re-signed TE Bubba Franks isn’t expected to be back in action until training camp according to the coach.

-GQ QB: Besides taking flack from having a tough week at the office, Sanchez got a lot of ribbing from both coaches and teammates about his GQ photo shoot that came out this week.

“I sure lobbed one up for them to hit it right out of the park (laughing), “ said Sanchez about the photo shoot. “They had some good pictures up in the locker room. It was funny. They called me David Hasselhoff and all that, so it was good.”

AINGE NEEDS TO BULK UP: It doesn't look like 3rd string QB Eric Ainge did much eating during his mysterious "personal" hiatus last month as he's skinny as a rail. Someone direct that man to the pasta bar or have him start dining with Coach Ryan and Kris Jenkins!

The photo shoot according to Sanchez took place a few months before the draft so it has not impeded any of his football activities.

EXCLUSIVE OTA PHOTOS! For the largest gallery of exclusive OTA photos on the internet: CLICK HERE