Friday, June 1, 2012

Pennington undoubtedly perfect mentor for Sanchez

Photo: (Shotgun Spratling/Neon Tommy), Flickr 

Mark Sanchez will be the first to say he needs to improve his decision-making. Sanchez made one decision this offseason that shows he's already gotten better in that category.

Following a tumulus season that saw Sanchez miss the playoffs for the first time since being drafted by the Jets in 2009, Gang Green's now-fourth-year signal-caller had his agent find former Jets and Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington's phone number.

In seeking some wisdom from one of the NFL's most cerebral quarterbacks of all-time, Sanchez texted Pennington "out of the blue." He got the response he was looking for.

"I said, ' hope you're cool with this, it's really me,'" Sanchez told Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole in a one-on-one interview Tuesday. "Right away, he said, 'I'm glad you called. I was hoping you would, great, let's do this.'"

Sanchez traveled to South Florida more than once this spring for a handful of days at a time to be mentored by the oft-injured Pennington, who last played in 2010 with the Dolphins. He spent eight seasons with the Jets before being traded to Miami when New York picked up Brett Favre in 2008.

Pennington boasts the NFL's highest completion percentage (66.05), so it's only fitting that Sanchez, who struggled with turnovers last season, would see Pennington as the golden standard for ball-security.

"[He's] a great decision maker, knows when to throw the ball away, knows when to check it down, knows when to take a sack, call a timeout, how to run a two-minute drill," Sanchez said. "... If we save four or five turnovers last season, we're looking at a different season and a different last three games and who knows."

Sanchez said Pennington's familiarity with now-Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's offensive system made his work with Pennington "a grand slam."

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