Jets confident, behind Sanchez
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mark Sanchez had big plans for an early Thanksgiving buffet, inviting everyone in the New York Jets organization to come to his place.
After a four-interception, five-turnover performance at New England, the rookie quarterback thought he might be a bit lonely at the dinner table Monday night.
"I was a little surprised by the turnout after the game," he said yesterday with a huge grin. "I was really happy about it. It was great. It meant a lot to me."
See, Mark. You're still The Sanchize, even if things aren't so great lately.
"It's one of those things where you have to keep fighting, keep playing and keep your confidence," he said. "The team has definitely kept their confidence in me, and that's encouraging."
So is the fact that coach Rex Ryan has decided to take a greater role on the offensive side of the ball after focusing almost solely on defense. Ryan has installed a code system in an attempt to help cut down Sanchez's mistakes and provide him with a clearer idea of the tasks at hand.
"Basically it's helping him manage when he gets out on the field to understand maybe the parameters, maybe the game situations and all that kind of stuff," Ryan said.
After a terrific start, Sanchez has struggled as his 16 interceptions rank as the second most in the NFL. His 61.1 quarterback rating is the worst of any current starter. Sanchez has also had three games in which he cost the Jets opportunities at victories because of turnovers.
"A couple of times, pressing a little bit too hard," he said. "I'm trying to do a little too much."
OT Runyan signs: Politics will have to wait for offensive tackle Jon Runyan, who practiced for the first time with his new team. Runyan, who hasn't played since the end of last season, signed yesterday after San Diego placed right tackle Jeromey Clary on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Runyan had plans to challenge Democratic Rep. John Adler in New Jersey's 3rd District.
Manning streak on line: Three-time MVP Peyton Manning was a limited participant at practice yesterday because of a backside injury. Manning has not missed a start in his 12-year career, a streak that is at 201 including playoff games. Indy visits Houston on Sunday with a chance to clinch the AFC South.
Cardinals: Quarterback Kurt Warner went through a full practice yesterday and expects to play Sunday at Tennessee. Warner says he passed the required mental tests after sustaining a concussion in last Sunday's 21-13 victory at St. Louis.
Chiefs: Kansas City cornerback Maurice Leggett is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Leggett was placed on injured reserve yesterday after he hurt the shoulder Sunday in the Chiefs' 27-24 win over Pittsburgh.
Steelers: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has practiced despite sustaining a concussion against Kansas City and is expected to play Sunday in Baltimore, although second-year quarterback Dennis Dixon took more snaps than usual.
Vikings: Starting right guard Anthony Herrera has a concussion. Herrera did not practice because of the condition. Coach Brad Childress didn't mention it this week, and he was unavailable for comment.
Tom Janik, a former AFL-NFL player who in 1968 intercepted a pass by Joe Namath and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown, has died. He was 69. Vinyard Funeral Homes says Janik died Saturday in Poth, about 35 miles from San Antonio.