The USC alum has thrown the first-place Jets to an 8--2 start, the team's best record after 10 games since 1986
What stands out when you're watching Michael Vick play?
Mark Sanchez: He looks like he's in command. He definitely is. He's comfortable in the pocket, so he's dangerous. But when he gets on the run and can still throw or run, that's deadly. That's so tough for a defense. I wish I had speed like that.
But when things break down, you seem to be making plays with your legs too. How does your coach, Rex Ryan, feel about that?
MS: He's been O.K. with it. He knows [the game calls] for a little ad-libbing. But I'm comfortable in the pocket; I'm comfortable throwing on the run. [Backup quarterback] Mark Brunell has been one of the toughest in the league throwing on the run, and it has kind of rubbed off on me. We've worked specific drills for it. Mark has these foam bats out there at practice, and I drop back, and he's smacking me with these things to make it feel like pocket pressure. It works out really well practicing awkward throws because you never get enough practice at it.
How long has it taken for you to feel like it's your team and become comfortable at that position?
MS: I tried to embrace the fact that it's going to be my team last year and lead by example, stay quiet, speak when I needed to. This year I've taken the reins a little bit on talking to guys, pumping guys up before games—little things where I can assert myself as team leader. I'm feeling so much more comfortable with the calls that are coming in. The wristband—we still use it, but I have it practically memorized now. It's so much easier this year. I couldn't tell you how hard it was last year trying to find wristband calls and then think about it and try to get everyone set.