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Mark Sanchez defended by Jets teammates

January 12, 2012 |  8:20 am


Several New York Jets players rushed to the defense of quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was criticized by an anonymous teammate earlier in the week.

"Mark is heading in the right direction," left guard Matt Slauson told the Associated Press. "He is going to be a great quarterback and I really believe he can lead us to a championship. His rookie year, we went to the AFC championship and again last year. The guy can do it. He can get it done. The rest of the team has to do their part too."

The New York Daily News quoted one player, who was not identified, as saying Sanchez was "lazy and content." Another player suggested the Jets should bring in Peyton Manning.

"Whoever said all that, they're out of their minds and just trippin'," defensive lineman Marcus Dixon said. "You can't blame a season on one guy. I mean, come on. It's all unfair. We have Mark Sanchez. He's our quarterback. He's our guy. And that's how just about everyone in that locker room feels."

Center Nick Mangold defended Sanchez on Twitter, saying he "very much so, 100 percent" believes in Sanchez.

Dixon also told AP that Sanchez gathered the team's running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and other quarterbacks last off-season to work on team chemistry.

"If that's someone who doesn't know how to be a leader or have a good work ethic, then I don't know, man," Dixon said.

Retired Jets right tackle Damien Woody, was also critical of Sanchez on ESPN (Woody is now an analyst with the network).

"They definitely need to bring in a viable backup, a viable backup to really provide that competition, because with competition, you are going to rise or you are just going to crumble," Woody said. "So I think you bring in a viable backup and let it play out. We'll see which Mark Sanchez shows up after that."


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-- Houston Mitchell

The Associated Press contributed to this report.