Jets ride rumor to St. Louis
BY R.B. FALLSTROM Associated Press
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 6:45 AM
ST. LOUIS - This week's Tim Tebow flap had a familiar ring to the quarterback playing ahead of him.
Just like Tebow, Mark Sanchez recalls getting criticized by unnamed teammates last season. The common denominator: In both instances, the New York Jets were foundering.
Sanchez said increased focus on his failures was not a distraction in the team's late-season fade last season, and the alleged criticism of Tebow's skills is not going to hurt them Sunday at St. Louis, either. The team's problems, he contends, are the mistakes and missed opportunities on the field common to struggling teams.
Teams like the Rams (3-5-1), who are 0-3-1 in their last four games.
"I mean, people make it sound like we just went out to practice today and just threw our stuff down and stopped playing," Sanchez said in a conference call with St. Louis media. "That wasn't the case at all, and I'm not making light of it or trying to discount Tim's feelings in this thing. If anybody knows, it'd be me, I've been through that after last year.
"Somebody made an anonymous comment and said I'm lazy in practice and I don't work hard and nobody's challenging me."
Of course, Sanchez wasn't happy when singled out as the cause of the team's failures, and he knows Tebow must be upset with supposed ringing votes of no-confidence from several people in the Jets organization. It's a backhanded compliment for Sanchez, who has completed an NFL-low 52 percent of his passes.
"Our season has been miserable," Ryan said. "We're 3-6, obviously not something where we wanted to be or ever thought we'd be at. We have seven games left and I'm excited about the way this team practices, how they prepare, and I think things will get better.
"That drives you as a coach."
The best course of action, Sanchez said, is to "tune out the noise," not spend any precious time trying to divine who said what, and get to work. He accepts his share of the blame, saying it all "starts with the quarterback making good decisions."
"We just haven't capitalized on some great opportunities that we've had, and it really shows," Sanchez said. "We have to play a cleaner game and we've got to start doing that this week."
The Rams can say the same thing.
Inconsistency has hurt them since a 3-2 start, along with playing much better competition. Before last week's tie at San Francisco, they had lost to the Patriots, Packers and Dolphins.
They were their own worst enemy against the 49ers, with a would-be winning 53-yard field goal by rookie Greg Zuerlein nullified by a delay of game call the most obvious example. The Rams also squandered 142 yards on a pair of long gainers to the 2 by Danny Amendola with ticky-tack penalties, and the defense allowed two touchdowns and a field goal on San Francisco's final three drives in regulation.
But there's no quarterback controversy in St. Louis, especially after Sam Bradford led one of the team's better offensive outings against one of the NFL's stingiest defenses.
"We still made mistakes, but for the most part I think that was our most complete game," Bradford said. "We put up a lot of yards and a fair amount of points against a really good defense."
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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said this week's criticism of Tim Tebow won't be an issue against St. Louis Sunday. STEPHEN BRASHEAR/Associated Press