- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Media-shy QBs coach Matt Cavanaugh emerged from his man-Cav (get it?) late Thursday for a session with reporters. He might have the most fascinating (and toughest) job among all the QB coaches in the league, considering his pupils are Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Some highlights from the interview:
On whether he was concerned with how Sanchez would handle the acquisition of Tebow:
Cavanaugh: "I did not, deep down, I did not. On the surface, I think wherever Tim showed up, it was going to be a stir, because of his persona. I think Mark has enough confidence in himself and his game, and he didn't tell me this, but I'm going to assume, he's human, and there was probably some trepidation. I think he knows he's a damn good quarterback and he welcomed Tim and he wasn't phony about it."
On how he's handled having a backup quarterback who is used differently:
Cavanaugh: "It's been a learning experience for me. I was not well versed, although when I was at Pitt, going back a little bit. I actually visited Arkansas when they were there, and I kind of stole their Wildcat, and we ran it at Pitt with (LeSean) McCoy. I knew some of the basics of it, but being around Tim and hearing him talk about some of the other things he has done and what he's capable of doing, it's pretty exciting. It adds another dimension to coaching a quarterback, when you start to talk about some of the running things he can run."
On Sanchez's level of assertiveness:
Cavanaugh: "Take this the right way: You don't get to see him in all the dimensions that I get to see him. He's a very competitive person and he works his ass off daily at being the best he can be. Sometimes, it doesn't come out in his persona -- I think he's a little laid back -- but don't confuse that for not wanting it really bad and doing whatever he has to do to get it. Maybe what he's referencing is, he's not an out-loud, get-in-your-face kind of guy. He shows disappointment sometimes, which is OK. He shows excitement sometimes, which is OK. I just tell him, whatever you do, do it naturally and everybody will accept you for that."
On Sanchez's toughness over the years:
Cavanaugh: "One of the things we talked about in the offseason ... (is) that he's gotten stronger. You play this position, and you play it almost every down that he's played in the last three years, you're going to take hits. If you don't train and make yourself stronger, those are going to make you miss some plays, and he knows that. Secondly, I wanted him stronger. We wanted him stronger, in his lower body because he needed to be a little more explosive. He's not a real fast guy, I think we'd all admit, but you don't have to be fast to play the position. You have to be able to escape, stand tall in the pocket, guys draped all over you (and) make a throw."
On the Jets openly courting other QB coaches while he still was on the job in January:
Cavanaugh: "I've been cut, traded, fired. That's the business. If you put more thought into it than that, you're going to be driven crazy. I love it here, I like working with the quarterbacks here, I was hoping that I could stay (and) I was thrilled that I got to say. I understand the business, and I'm confident enough that if I wasn't here, I would have been somewhere else."