NEW YORK -- Mark Sanchez's injured right calf didn't keep him off the field against the Cleveland Browns. And the starting quarterback for the New York Jets doesn't expect that to change this Sunday when the Houston Texans invade the Meadowlands to take on Gang Green.
"[My calf] feels good," said Sanchez, who was at Club H Fitness in Midtown Manhattan Tuesday afternoon to promote a new, sensory activated fitness video game for the Xbox 360 called "Your Shape."
"Did you see my [video game] workout? I've been doing calf exercises on there to rehab."
Sanchez injured his right calf after he was sacked in the third quarter of the Jets' 26-20 overtime victory over the Browns. But he remained in the game, eventually throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 16 seconds remaining in the extra period.
"After the trainers looked at it and determined it wasn't a serious ligament injury or a knee injury, they were going to leave it up to me as far as pain tolerance [was concerned]," Sanchez said. "And once they left it up to me, I knew I was going to go back in."
On the team plane ride back to New York after the game, Sanchez was given ice to suppress the swelling and the training staff later went over his calf with a stimulation machine.
"The trainers did a great job," Sanchez said. "I'm feeling a lot better already."
At 7-2, the Jets are tied for the NFL's best record. Still, they needed overtime to beat a pair of mediocre opponents in their last two games, prompting skeptics to call them "lucky" rather than good.
Not that Sanchez gets caught up in all that.
"The most important thing to look back on is the wins," Sanchez said. "But obviously we want to make some corrections. I don't think we're as efficient as we want to be. I know we weren't in the red zone [the Jets have scored just 11 touchdowns in 28 red zone attempts, which ranks last in the AFC] so that's going to be a huge emphasis this week.
"We're playing against a tough Texans team that's record really doesn't reflect their talent and their playmaking ability. This is an explosive offense and an explosive defense with a couple injuries, but guys filling in that can make plays. We just need to be more efficient in the red zone."
After a rollercoaster rookie campaign in which he threw 20 interceptions to just 12 touchdowns, Sanchez seems to be coming into his own during his sophomore season. He's thrown twice as many TDs (12) as picks (6), while fumbling just once. He's completing almost 55 percent of his passes and has an 80.5 quarterback rating, up from 63.0 in 2009.
"I'm feeling a lot better than I did last season," Sanchez said. "It's just having that year under my belt. More games. More throws. More experience. Especially in crunch time. Last year, I was throwing interceptions late in the game. But this season, I've given us a chance to make plays. Now with the offensive line, I trust them to know where the pressures are coming from. I'm so much more prepared for the games. It's really made a world of difference. So I'm a lot more confident. And when you have this many great players, it's easy to have that confidence."
But what about the confidence of the Jets' fanbase? After all, the franchise has had a history of letting them down.
"They're loyal, they want us to win," Sanchez said. "And there's nothing wrong with that. They're going to voice their opinion, and that's OK too. But the most important thing for us is how we feel in our locker room, about how we feel about each other. And the team morale is high. We love playing for Rex [Ryan] and we're ready to play every week.
And if it takes an overtime win, we'll gut it out. Kinda grit our teeth a little bit. But hopefully, like I said, we can win some of these things in regulation."
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.