At least one of Mark Sanchez's prominent teammates awaits the quarterback's elevation to another level in 2011.
New York Jets inside linebacker Bart Scott sat down with ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio for a wide-ranging interview that covered the lockout and Scott's viral "Can't wait!" proclamation after beating the New England Patriots in the playoffs.
The most interesting comments dealt with Sanchez.
"It's time for him to take that next step [in that] maturation period to step up into the upper echelon of quarterbacks in this league," Scott said. "Mark was thrown in the fire, and expectations was high immediately. He's had his ups. He's had his downs. But he stayed positive through it. He's one of the hardest workers, not just quarterbacks, but hardest-working people I've seen.
"It’s time for him to take the next step and really take control of this team and not so much have to hold onto the steering wheel, but actually drive the car."
Scott also commented on head coach Rex Ryan's penchant for making Super Bowl predictions and guarantees about the Jets.
"That's what we got when we hired him," Scott said. "We loved it. That's his personality. We back him 100 percent because I know if he's out there writing checks, I'm going to have to help him cash them. So I know I better have my butt ready in [the workout facility] because the target's going to be on our chests, on our backs.
"We embrace the challenge. I think it's about time for us to get it done and see this thing through because after a while people are going to start looking at it as a joke."