Sanchez back, will start for Jets vs. Falcons
Mark Sanchez will start for the New York Jets against the Atlanta
Falcons after missing one game with a sprained posterior cruciate
ligament in his right knee.
Coach Rex Ryan said the rookie quarterback was medically
cleared by team doctors after practicing three straight days.
Sanchez took all of the snaps with the first-team offense Friday
after taking 75 percent of them Thursday.
“We went into practice thinking he would be fine, so he was
going to get 100 percent of the reps,” Ryan said. “After talking
with the doctors, they felt great. … Mark feels strong. I asked
him again, ‘Do you feel strong?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, absolutely.”‘
Sanchez missed the Jets’ 26-3 victory last Sunday at Tampa
Bay after injuring the knee against Buffalo on Dec. 3, and was
replaced by Kellen Clemens. He returned to practice Wednesday and
experienced no setbacks during the week.
Sanchez will wear custom-fitted braces on both knees; he had
already been wearing one on the left from a previous injury.
“It’s going to be a Joe Namath throwback game for Mark,” Ryan
said. “He slid right in front of me in practice to make sure I knew
he was ready to go. He feels confident. He threw the ball really
well today. He’s ready to go.”
Ryan said the Jets also are preparing Sanchez for his first
game in wintry weather. It’s expected to be snowy with
near-freezing temperatures at the Meadowlands on Sunday.
“We put some of the UGG boot stuff in his helmet, so he’s
going to be warmer,” Ryan said, referring to the wool-lined
footwear. “I’m not kidding. Look at his helmet. He’s got some of
that in there. We try to make sure our guys are comfortable and
healthy and protected.”
Ryan isn’t concerned about how Sanchez, from Southern
California, will fare in the cold and potentially messy conditions.
“He’s got big hands, which I think you have to have in
cold-weather games,” Ryan said. “In really bad-weather games, if
it’s raining, you need the big hands to zip the ball. He can throw
it, so he’ll be just fine.”
Notes: C Nick Mangold missed his second straight day of
practice with an illness and is listed as questionable, but Ryan
said he’s going to play Sunday. … OL Robert Turner (left knee) is
out, while CB Dwight Lowery (high right ankle sprain) is probable
after missing the last three games.