Mark Sanchez: I'll 'absolutely' start

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith did not attend Mark Sanchez's annual "Jets West" camp, but Sanchez, saying he will be the starting quarterback when the season begins, did not hold that against his new teammate.

"I don't hold it against any of the guys who can't make it," Sanchez said Friday after a two-hour practice. "There are no hard feelings about anything like [that]. Greg [McElroy] isn't here, [Matt] Simms isn't here, some guys are gone getting married. They're doing stuff. There are plenty of other things they could be doing. If they could make the sacrifice and be here, awesome. If they can't, that's totally fine. I would never hold a grudge against anybody that's not here."

When Sanchez was asked if he would win the quarterback competition in training camp, he said, "Absolutely."

Sanchez actually was the only Jets quarterback in attendance as 12 skill players went through drills at Mission Viejo High School, Sanchez's alma mater.

Sanchez reached out to USC, his college alma mater, and quarterbacks Max Wittek and Cody Kessler -- who will be competing for the Trojans' starting job this season -- assisted Sanchez with quarterback duties.

This is the fourth year Sanchez has held "Jets West" in his hometown as a way to build team chemistry and for Sanchez to get a head start on the offense. That was even more important this offseason, with the Jets hiring a new offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, after last season's disappointing 6-10 finish.

"I love this West Coast system," Sanchez said. "I think the terminology is quarterback-friendly. I think the reads are quarterback-friendly. I think we're moving along at a good clip and we're right where we want to be, but we'll iron out some of the hiccups in training camp and get this thing right. It's important for a quarterback to have a good rapport with his wideouts. I don't want to take anything away from Marty. I'm trying to reiterate what Marty said."

It has been an eventful offseason for Sanchez, who made a splash online last month when a video of him dancing at a house party -- with his rear end exposed -- went viral.

"Obviously, the video is a little embarrassing," Sanchez said. "It's just a good reminder that you're in the spotlight and need to be ever watchful and careful of who you're with, what you're doing. Whether it's harmless, whether you're in the privacy of your own setting and you think everything is fine and you're safe. You just got to be careful. That's just a good example ... I have to work on my tan line, I think."

Even Sanchez's long locks and headband have drawn the ridicule of fans online.

"Things like the headband, you just have to live your life," Sanchez said. "You have to be happy with who you are and have a good time enjoying something you love and playing the game you love."

Some of the key players who worked out with Sanchez at "Jets West" included Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Chris Ivory, Konrad Reuland, Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow.

Winslow, who signed last month, said he was impressed with Sanchez's leadership and command of the huddle during their time together.

"He's a leader, man," Winslow said. "He's a quarterback. He handles himself well in meetings. He handles himself like a pro. He handles himself like a coach. In meetings, I'm real impressed with him. He knows what everybody's doing."

Winslow didn't want to handicap the quarterback race or say which one he preferred.

"I don't know how to answer that," he said. "Whenever it's competition, it just goes down to the last preseason game usually. That's how it usually works."

Sanchez said he looks forward to entering training camp later this month and said he's betting on himself coming out as the winner.

"When it comes down to a competition, I just put my money on myself and go play and win the job," Sanchez said. "If that's what it's going to be like and it's been made clear, that's what it is, all right, let's go."