ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The first rule of leadership is you can’t tell people you are a leader, you just have to be one. Then they notice.
At least that’s the way quarterback Mark Sanchez sees it.
Sanchez is a relatively new arrival to the Denver Broncos since the team acquired him in a March trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. As he tries to acclimated to new coaches, a new city and new teammates, he knows people are watching.
“A lot of times it’s just how you do it," Sanchez said. “... Are you prepared for meetings? Are you asking questions just to ask or do you really have a question because you studied the night before? When you get to this level, guys can tell, they can smell it. You can’t fake it, they know, it’s like old food if you’re faking it. You can’t fake it, you’ve got to love it."
Some coaches in the league have said quarterback is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Arrive early, stay late, be the most prepared what’s to come.
When Peyton Manning announced his retirement, he didn’t mention touchdown totals or a pile of NFL records, but he did say, with all of the passion he could muster in his voice, no one could “outprepare" him.
“It’s true, you sacrifice a lot of your time," Sanchez said. “But it’s in order to set the right example. It’s not always being vocal, it’s not always going out of your way to say something to somebody. My dad said something similar. When you’re the starting quarterback, when somebody calls you the starting quarterback, it’s like a boxer winning a title, now people call you 'Champ.' You’re different and people expect you to carry yourself differently in the job. You have to carry yourself appropriately on and off the field."
That’s where Sanchez is as the Broncos move through their offseason program -- trying to show his teammates he’s ready, willing and able to be the team’s starter. Coach Gary Kubiak has said numerous times “we’re not handing anybody anything, there’s going to be competition in this."
Sanchez is well-positioned because of his experience. He has six career playoff starts and is familiar with many of the concepts in the Broncos’ offense. He also has a chance to kick-start his career and regain a starter’s job, something he hasn't done since the 2012 season.
Sanchez also understands the locker room he walks into every day. The Broncos are a Super Bowl winner, with a way of doing things in place.
“It’s pretty impressive the way they just kind of police it on their own," Sanchez said. “It’s a good veteran team. It reminds me a lot of those first couple of years in New York where coach [Rex Ryan] didn’t really have to say much. Coach Kubiak, we’ve had a few team meetings and stuff, but there is not like a, 'don’t forget to be on time, lace your shoes this way and do this or do that.' There is not a lot of dialogue that way. It’s pretty quick, big-picture stuff. Everybody really knows what to do, so just fall in line and follow the guys around you. That’s encouraging."
Sanchez said he approaches his daily routine as if he can be the Broncos starter. He says he will help rookie Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian as much as he can until Kubiak officially names a starter in the weeks and months to come.
He wants to simply get down to the business of work because “I do love what I do and I want to be part of a team like this."