PHILADELPHIA -- Mark Sanchez will play in a game for the first time since injuring his right shoulder during the 2013 preseason. That part will feel familiar. Everything else has changed.
“I thought I would be a lot more nervous,” Sanchez said Wednesday, “but I’ve done it before. I’ve played before. I’ve started games. I have a lot of experience in this league. There’s nothing really too crazy that I haven’t seen, whether it’s an injury, whether it’s a playoff game, whether it’s getting your butt kicked on a Monday night game. I’ve seen it all. It’s going to be fun.”
In his last two seasons with the New York Jets, Sanchez was The Man. He was the No. 1 quarterback for a New York team with playoff expectations. Here with the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s competing for the No. 2 slot behind Nick Foles.
“It was just a different experience,” Sanchez said. “A lot of media attention, going through a lot of turnover, whether it was coaching/offensive coordinator-wise. We went through three in the last three years. This has been great. It’s been a good experience. I like the flow of practice, I like the pace. It’s all good.”
Sanchez signed a one-year deal with the Eagles after the Jets released him. He has no idea what 2015 will bring. That makes this preseason so unusual. If Foles stays healthy, the preseason games will be Sanchez’s best and last opportunity to show the rest of the league what he’s capable of doing.
“I think it will be good because we move around quite a bit,” Sanchez said. “I’m comfortable doing that, I’m comfortable playing at a fast pace. I really enjoy the tempo and the speed of things. So hopefully, [the league will] just see an improved guy, a six-year veteran ready to play well.”
Sanchez was among the first people to reach out the Jets coach Rex Ryan after Ryan’s son Seth broke his collarbone while practicing with the Clemson University football team.
“As soon as I heard about Seth,” Sanchez said he texted Ryan. “Everybody over there. I’m still very close with a lot of players and coaches. Whatever happens after here, I’d love to stay close with the people here because there are great people here as well.”
Sanchez has embraced the way Chip Kelly does things, from the pace of practice to the offensive philosophy. All of that should serve him well, whether it’s with the Eagles or elsewhere. A strong preseason wouldn’t hurt. Sanchez said he’s looking forward to Friday night’s preseason opener in Chicago.
“It’s going to be similar to practice,” Sanchez said. “You’d think our defense would have a real bead on what we’re doing. It will be nice just to see a different-colored uniform, to see different-colored helmets and stuff. There’s no coaches standing on the field, it’s the referees and the other team, so that’s nice.
“I feel good. If I’m healthy, like I am, there’s really nothing to worry about. I approach it like any other year. Sure, anything can happen, but I’m expecting some good stuff.”