For a quarterback who has taken a lot of heat, even from his own coach, Mark Sanchez is quietly posting some impressive numbers.
Sanchez has 21 touchdown passes and five rushing touchdowns, putting him only four behind the team mark for combined touchdowns in a single season. In 1998, Vinny Testaverde recorded 30 (29 passing, one rushing).
On Wednesday, Rex Ryan was asked about Sanchez's performance, and he started out by mentioning the Pro Bowl. Hmm, interesting.
"I don't know what people look for in Pro Bowls and all that," he said. "Just take the guys that win, and you'll be better off. I think, when the season's over, he'll be right there where we expect him to be. But I think he's had an excellent year, I really do. Is he going to throw for 4,000 yards or whatever? To be honest with you, I don't really know ... I think the guy's an excellent quarterback."
It's never pretty with Sanchez (three straight passing days under 200 yards), but he has cut down on the big mistakes -- two straight games without an interception. Ever since Ryan announced to the world that he had yanked Sanchez for a few practice reps, which ticked off Sanchez, his QB has seven TD passes and one interception.
On Wednesday, Sanchez deflected questions about his personal improvement, preferring to talk about the offense as a whole. Lately, he has approached his media sessions with all the enthusiasm of a patient headed for a colonoscopy. He doesn't smile much.
"I told you guys, I'm just focused," he said. "I'm excited, we have a great opportunity. We're in a good spot, but it could get better, hopefully. And we have to make it get better."