It has been a rough start to the season for Mark Sanchez. He has been knocked around by defenses that have left him bruised and battered, as well as critics who have questioned his abilities.
Sanchez has six touchdown passes and five interceptions, but his 75.9 passer rating is among the NFL's worst. His decision-making has been questioned, as has his ability to actually be the franchise-type quarterback the New York Jets still insist he is. He's coming off a miserable game at Baltimore in which he was 11-of-35 passing for 119 yards with an interception, but he vows to bounce back.
"If it never happens again in my career, I'd be pretty lucky, but there is a chance that could happen again at some point," Sanchez said. "To come back on Wednesday and work through it and show these guys, 'I'm the man. I don't care what anybody says. I'm the man in this building. We're going to win this game,' that's how I have to be. That's what I have to exude. That's the confidence I need to have, and that's the way I felt this week."
Sanchez a disappointment?
And it has shown to his teammates, who insist their faith in Sanchez hasn't wavered.
"He didn't come in here with his head down," center Nick Mangold said. "He didn't come in here moping around. He came in ready to work."
At least Sanchez is healthy, something that has been far from guaranteed this season while working behind an offensive line that has been subpar and contributed to him being sacked 11 times in four games. Sanchez was tested for a concussion after the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, bruised his throwing arm the following week against the Jacksonville Jaguars and suffered a broken nose at Oakland.
It was clear against the Ravens that if he continues to take such hard hits, he won't last the entire season.
Wide receiver Santonio Holmes was critical of Sanchez and the rest of the team after the 34-17 loss to the Ravens, saying they all need to play better if they are going to succeed. Holmes' comments received lots of play in the media and seemed to hint at the possible beginnings of dissension. Not so, Holmes insisted.
"If anybody feels bad about that then I'm sorry, but as a captain, that's my job to point it out amongst ourselves," Holmes said. "And if the media took it the wrong way, I apologize for it. But as far as meaning it to dictate anything negative on my team, I would never do that. I didn't sign back here to be that guy."
ESPN reported that Sanchez delivered an impassioned speech to the offense at Monday's practice, emphasizing team unity.
"He said some very poignant things," backup quarterback Mark Brunell said. "He did a really good job. In fact, I told him (Tuesday), 'You did a great job with the offense.' I don't know -- I wasn't here -- but I don't think he would've done that his rookie year (in 2009). What he said could not have been said any better. I was impressed. That's what we needed."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.