Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez -- quizzed unmercifully this spring about his rocky job security -- was asked point-blank Thursday how he'd feel about watching New York's season begin against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from the bench.
"I don't plan on that happening," Sanchez said, per the New York Daily News. "I'm planning on playing, I'm planning on starting."
It's been speculated that Sanchez is simply being put through the motions as the Jets prepare rookie Geno Smith to take over, but the fifth-year quarterback took the majority of first-team reps during organized team activities Thursday and reportedly looked sharp.
"I think (Sanchez has) done a nice job this offseason, I think he's in great shape," Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters. "Is he more accurate with the football? I'm not sure what the numbers will say, I really don't know. I feel he has a confidence about it. I don't know how much it left him -- but I think last year, some of it. I think it's safe to say some of his confidence was shaken a little bit last year. But I think he's feeling good about himself."
Sanchez has remained cordial with Smith, which he says is no act.
"Part of that comes when you're just confident in yourself," Sanchez said. "If I was insecure about something or couldn't (handle) this market or this pressure or ... can't handle this competition, maybe I wouldn't say much to him. Maybe I'd be a little scared to give him help. But I don't feel like that. I just don't. That's not my personality. I'm confident, I'm ready to go, I can do it, I know I can."
After Sanchez handled the Tim Tebow Experiment with poise last season, there's little reason to doubt his ability to play the role of "good teammate." Playing the role of the Jets' starting quarterback has presented greater difficulties.
For what it's worth, Sanchez still has the backing of Jets legend Joe Namath, who told NFL Network on Thursday that Sanchez -- more than anyone else on the roster -- still gives New York the best chance to succeed. That's either encouraging or terrifying, depending on your point of view.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.