New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez can have a successful National Football League career if he limits his turnovers and moves past criticism from fans, according to six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb.
Sanchez was benched twice last season, when he committed an NFL-high 26 turnovers including 18 interceptions. He was booed during the year, and again last week by fans at the New York Knicks playoff game when he was shown on the Madison Square Garden video screen.
McNabb, 36, helped the Philadelphia Eagles to eight postseason berths and a Super Bowl appearance in 10 years as the team’s starting quarterback. Booed by Eagles fans when the team drafted him second overall in 1999, McNabb drew criticism later in his career for his leadership and inability to deliver the franchise’s first Super Bowl title, and was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2010.
“You get booed, you just have to swallow it and move on, and I think Sanchez understands that,” McNabb said today in an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “I’ve been booed before, but it never affects what your goal is, to be the starting quarterback and play at a high level. That’s the thing he needs to focus on and if he’s able to do that, those boos will turn to cheers.”
The Jets finished 6-10 last year, the team’s lowest win total in five seasons. In his four years with the team, Sanchez and the team reached the American Football Conference title games in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, losing both.
The Jets, who acquired quarterback Tim Tebow before last season, this offseason added veteran quarterback David Garrard to compete for the starting job with Sanchez, who is guaranteed $8.25 million this year. Jets General Manager John Idzik said he was looking to bring in players to push Sanchez, 26.
McNabb said the fifth-year quarterback will be helped by new Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who had the same job in Philadelphia for McNabb’s final four seasons with the team. McNabb said Mornhinweg will bring stability and big- play capability to New York offense, which averaged 299.2 yards per game last season, third-fewest in the 32-team league, and help Sanchez limit his turnovers.
“Marty Mornhinweg is going to help him in so many ways, being able to understand the game a little more and being able to get the ball out of his hands quickly,” McNabb said.
New York has the No. 9 and No. 13 picks in the draft later this week. The Jets open their 2013 season on Sept. 8, at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-- Editors: Michael Sillup, Jay Beberman
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