- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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We interrupt Tebow-mania to bring you the Jets' starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, who chatted with reporters Thursday after an OTA session. Some of the highlights of that conversation:
• On whether he feels differently on the field with everyone watching him and Tim Tebow: "I don’t really think about it while we’re playing. No offense to Tim, I’m not really thinking about Tim. I’m thinking about the play we have, the protection we have, what potential blitz we’re going to get and making sure everybody’s lined up in the right spot. So, my mind is racing a million miles an hour. I feel good, I feel like the system is coming along and nothing's really changed that way, I’m focused on football."
• On whether the offseason feels more competitive with Tebow here: "I put a lot of pressure on myself. I think you guys know that. Everybody in the building knows that, that I want to make it right for me and this team. Whether we have Matt Simms, or (G.J.) Kinne, or (Greg) McElroy, or if it happens to be Tim Tebow behind me, that’s fine. It doesn’t matter. I’m playing hard and trying to get this thing right for all of us in here."
• On what experiences he can draw from over his last three seasons to help him overcome the scrutiny because of Tebow being here: "It’s a new experience, but like you said, I’ve got plenty to draw on. The highs and lows of a season ... understanding that this thing is a marathon, not a race ... don’t get caught up in who completed what ball and who didn’t. Don’t even let your mind go there. It’s not worth the time, it’s a waste. Just focus on the next play, have a short memory and keep playing. Be the leader this team needs."
• First impressions of rookie WR Stephen Hill: "He’s a great player. He’s always got a smile. He’s one of those guys who loves coming in the building, and loves to learn. He’s a big, strong, fast kid. He’s a sponge, which is exactly what you want from a young guy like that."
• On new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano: "He doesn’t smile too often. If you catch one, you better save it. They’re few and far between. Sometimes it’s not a smile, it’s a smirk. You never know. But he’s tough on us, he’s fair, he’s an old-school guy and he wants things done right and that’s exactly what we need."
• On looking to Eli Manning for inspiration because he is in the same city: "I look at that as kudos to him for doing a great job and thriving under that pressure. Look where he’s at today, two Super Bowl rings and he’s on the top of the world and doing a great job and he deserves it. He’s put in a lot of hard work so you look at it and admire it. That’s a guy who really did a good job."
• On whether he’s tired of answering questions about Tebow: "It's only OTAs." (Smiling.)