- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller weighed in on the war of words between Rex Ryan and Jets icon Joe Namath, and -- no surprise here -- they backed their coach.
Both players, speaking Tuesday on 1050 ESPN Radio, went out of their way to give respect to Namath -- the franchise's only legend -- but neither Sanchez nor Keller bought into Broadway Joe's premise that Ryan's bravado leads to overconfidence and hurts team preparation.
"I want to be careful answering this one because, without a doubt, I respect Joe Namath to the fullest," Sanchez said. "I think he's the most notable Jet of alltime, the ultimate Jet. It's rarefied air if you ever talk about Joe Namath, especially in this building."
"I can understand why he'd criticize the team like that, and I kind of see where he's coming from as an outsider perspective, but at the same time you have to understand: In this building, these guys prepare their tail off," Sanchez said. "Sure, does Rex boast about our team and is he brash in his comments about our team? Of course. We wouldn't have it any other way and that's the way he is. But if you don't do something right ... I wish ... I'm actually happy you weren't in our team meeting after that game (in Oakland). He couldn't be more upset and disappointed with our team and the way we performed. But it wasn't a matter of preparation."
In an earlier interview, Keller, too, said he doesn't agree with Namath.
"No, I don't," he said, adding, "Obviously, Joe is a great influence in the Jets' world, but, really, he's not there every single day. The reason Rex has so much confidence in us as players is because he sees all the film work we put in, the hard work we put in on the field and everything we're doing to get better ... He knows how much we appreciate that and we're willing to do anything for him.
"So I'm not buying into (Namath's comments). Rex knows what type of players he has, the type of team he has, and that's why he has so much confidence in us."
Sanchez, in his weekly spot with host Michael Kay, also addressed his broken nose. He said he'll wear the visor on a game-by-game basis.
"It feels good and we'll worry about it after the season. No big deal," he said. "If it's a cosmetic thing, I don't really care. I'll break my nose every single game as long as we're going to win."