Rex Ryan: Mark Sanchez is Jets captain

Mark Sanchez will be the New York Jets captain this year, coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday in a conference call.

"I see the way the guys are around him and things, this is really going to be his team," Ryan said. "I'm not big on giving out those captain things ... but we will put the C on his jersey this year because he truly is our captain."

Traditionally, Ryan has rotated the captains from game to game, often giving the nod to hometown players during away games. He said he would still have special-teams and defensive captains, but Sanchez will remain the pick for the offense.

"It is Mark Sanchez, it is his team," Ryan said. "I really never knew the roster the way I know it now, now being our third year here and I'm really comfortable doing this now. Am I trying to drive up the jersey sales for Sanchez? Maybe that's true. But it is something I take seriously. I think he's earned that, I'm excited to see this young man grow."

Sanchez is going into his third season as well. Over the last season he has become more comfortable with the role of team leader, even learning how to improve his body language to convey confidence. Clearly his coaches are banking on him, and didn't send backups Kellen Clemens or Mark Brunell into a game last year during a loss. A backup was only sent in when the Jets were well ahead.

Sanchez was asked Tuesday how he felt about Ryan's address to fans after the lockout, and saying the Jets were planning to air it out a little more this season.

"It could mean a million things, I have no idea, but I'm excited to keep playing, I'm excited to improve," Sanchez said. "I think for us to win and take that next step, it's going to require me improving. That's a part of this whole thing and a part of this learning process. Rex understands that, and that's Rex's deal, put just a little more pressure on the quarterback."

Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.