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Mark Sanchez a 'better version' of himself with Eagles

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Mark Sanchez says he's grown from his experiences with the New York Jets and believes he's become a "better version" of himself since joining the Philadelphia Eagles.

"There's a ton of experience in there in those five years and the most important thing is to eliminate the mistakes that happened then," he said Wednesday of his time with the Jets. "And I think coach (Chip) Kelly is going to put me in a good position and it's my job to make the right decisions. I'm thrilled about the opportunity and I'm excited about moving forward with this team."

When Sanchez takes the field against the Carolina Panthers next Monday night, it will mark his first start in the NFL since Dec. 30, 2012. The quarterback was asked if the layoff tested his patience.

"It's been a while since I started a game. And that's hard going four straight years playing and then being out a year, not even being able to practice then watching somebody else play," he said, referring to the shoulder injury that wiped out his 2013 season. "It tests you a little bit. It makes you appreciate it even more and makes you want to play all that much better when you get in there."

When asked for an example of how he's changed as a player, Sanchez cited a play in Sunday's game in which J.J. Watt was surging toward him on a rush. Sanchez acknowledged that in the past he might have tried to do too much in that spot and ended up with a killer red-zone turnover. This time, he "literally just dropped to the ground." He cited it as a gain in "impulse reaction" -- which totally sounds like a Chip-ism.

If Sanchez can cut down on the mental mistakes that imploded his Jets career, maybe he'll become a "hell of a quarterback" and not just another sacrificial virgin thrown into the bowels of a volcano.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews Browns-Bengals and returns the game "Win Gregg's Toaster." Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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