Jets' legend Joe Namath gives rave review about rookie QB Mark Sanchez
BY RICH CIMINI
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
When the Jets drafted Mark Sanchez to be their new franchise quarterback, their oldest franchise quarterback - Joe Namath - was a bit concerned.
Looking back, Namath said "the one thing that scared me" was Sanchez's lack of college experience - 16starts. He immediately recalled the ominous words of USC coach Pete Carroll, who bluntly stated Sanchez wasn't ready for the NFL.
Namath has a new opinion of Sanchez, who will start the opener Sunday in Houston: He loves the kid. The Hall of Famer was blown away by the rookie's flawless performance last week in the final preseason game. Sanchez was 5-for-5 for 67 yards and a touchdown in his only series. That it came against the Eagles' backups didn't matter to Namath.
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"You hear comments from Rex (Ryan) throughout training camp and you pay some credence to that, no doubt, but that first series last week showed me some stuff I hadn't seen in a while," Namath said Tuesday at a promotional appearance, addressing the media for the first time on Sanchez.
"I hadn't seen Sanchez enough, but what I saw that night in that first series, it looks like he can do everything in terms of movement and finding receivers," he continued. "He had to change where he had to go a couple of times. He used his feet well. He impressed me big-time in that series, so I'm excited about this (season) coming up."
Namath was joined by fellow Jet greats Curtis Martin, Wayne Chrebet and Marty Lyons at JFK Airport, where the team announced a corporate partnership with Jet Blue Airways. Much of the buzz focused on Sanchez, the first rookie quarterback in team history to start on opening day. Not even Namath managed that; it took him until the third game in 1965.
Broadway Joe doesn't foresee a smooth ride for Sanchez, saying he's "going to get his butt kicked a few times. ...I'm concerned with his (body) holding up." But Namath believes the Jets' No. 1 pick can succeed with a little luck and a lot of support from his running game and defense.
Namath, a legendary playboy in his day, doesn't expect Sanchez to be distracted by the trappings of celebrity.
"He won't be bouncing around," said Namath, noting that he played for an owner, Sonny Werblin, who was "a show-business man" obsessed with creating stars. "The ownership is different, the game is different, society is different."
Martin, who met Sanchez last week at a team function, said he was impressed with the rookie's charisma.
"When you're starting rookies, I've always been skeptical, but there is something I like about Sanchez," Martin said. "I got to meet him, shake his hand, look in his eye. He seems like an assertive, mature guy. I'm hoping he can be what they're expecting him to be."
Martin believes the Jets will be better with Sanchez; how much, he's not sure. "I think he can cause the team to take a step forward," he said. "I don't know how many steps forward, but I do believe, if I were a betting man, he'll help them take a step forward."
Chrebet said Sanchez "seems like a perfect fit" for the Jets and the city. "He throws a nice ball, it looks like he has a great presence in the huddle and he's definitely a smart kid," Chrebet said. "He says all the right things, he does all the right things. I think New York is going to love him."
Joe Namath enjoying NY Jets' ride, says current team reminds him of Super Bowl III champs
Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 10:00 PM Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 11:17 PM
By Dave Hutchinson/The Star Ledger
The most famous Jet of all is having as much fun these days as he had lying poolside in Miami the week of Super Bowl III.
‘‘I’m so damn excited about Rex Ryan and the way the team has responded to him,’’ Joe Namath told The Star-Ledger Wednesday. ‘‘It really is a wonderful feeling. It’s been a long time since the Jets and their fans have been on this stage. It’s a joy seeing so much happiness and enjoyment among Jets fans.
‘‘I just want to thank Rex and those players for making a lot of us so very happy to this point, and we’re not going to give up on them no matter what happens.’’
Namath, whose Jets shocked the world with a 16-7 victory over the seemingly indestructible Colts in their only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history 41 years ago, said the fact that the Colts once again stand in the Jets’ path isn’t wasted on him.
The franchise has moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis, but they still have that horseshoe on their helmets and don those classic blue and white uniforms.
‘‘Hell yeah, it’s interesting,’’ said Namath. ‘‘It’s a whole lot of history with the Jets and Colts. (Former Jets coach) Weeb Ewbank was their coach before coming to the Jets and we beat the Colts. ‘‘Rex Ryan was down there in Baltimore with the new franchise. This is the first time the teams have met in a championship game since the Super Bowl win.’’ Namath said this Jets team reminds him of their Super Bowl team, a bunch of underdogs. And he said he loves Ryan’s bravado and attacking style. But he said ‘‘poise and execution’’ is needed to defeat Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, whom he called ‘‘the best I’ve ever seen.’’ ‘‘Hopefully, you can get your hands on him,’’ said Namath. ‘‘If our defensive line gets pressure, I don’t think the Colts offensive line has been tested like this. It’s organized chaos with that defense. ‘‘There’s no guarantee the Colts are going to play their best because the Jets defense isn’t going to let them.’’ Asked if Ryan’s boast about the Jets being the ‘‘favorites’’ to win the Super Bowl and Ryan’s infamous itinerary would supplant his famous guarantee should the Jets win it all, Namath chuckled. ‘‘The team has bought into it,’’ he said. ‘‘Whether he said it in jest or whether he was sincere, we all listen and enjoy. Some people want to see him fall flat, but the bottom line is winning and losing and right now he has those guys in the championship game.’’
You guys are funny. Where was the outrage over these comments Namath made? Why weren't you guys telling him to shut up and calling him an old drunk after these comments were published? Oh it's okay when he's displaying hope and optimism when we're winning. But when we're losing and he's being honest and saying the same things we're all saying, that's when he becomes a drunk again and needs to shut up. Basically you're saying you want him to blow sunshine up our asses when the team is losing so we can all feel better about the team. No all Joe is doing here is showing he has two working eyeballs just like most of us do. If we can call into a sports radio show and bitch about the Jets, so can Joe as an invited guest. If we can post our unhappiness after a loss on social media so can he. He has every right to say whatever he wants about this team on any forum he chooses just like we do.
It would be one thing if what he was saying wasn't true. Then you could criticize him. But you all know what he is saying is the truth, because we're all saying it too. I'd be more upset with him if he were trying to paint a rosey picture of the team right now.