Jets owner defends QB Sanchez

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) complains to the referees after a play during the second...

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) complains to the referees after a play during the second half of their NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland, December 4, 2011. Washington Redskins defensive end Barry Cofield is at left. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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He went on Morning Joe on MSNBC to talk Mitt, but Woody Johnson wound up defending Mark, instead.

Johnson, a key fundraiser for the Republican presidential candidate Romney, wasnt going to escape questions about the dysfunctional NFL team he owns during the news program.

To his credit, Johnson took questions about the New York Jets and their under-fire quarterback Mark Sanchez, head-on following a disappointing 8-8 slate in which Gang Green was supposed to be Super Bowl contenders.

I mean, quite frankly, New Yorkers dont like losers and even if its an 8-8 record, thats not good enough here. They want a winner and there is frustration and thats what you want, Johnson said.

He went on to defend Sanchez, despite the signal-callers poor play down the stretch, which included a nine turnovers during a three-game losing streak and criticism about his work-ethic from anonymous teammates in a story published by the New York Daily News on Wednesday.

Hes the first guy in the building every morning and the last guy to leave, so lazy is the last thing he is. ... Hes an NFL quarterback. I mean, thats what you expect of an NFL quarterback.

Johnson wasnt as effusive in his praise of Jets coach Rex Ryan following the teams collapse, however. Johnson, who once called Ryan brilliant to describle his coachs handling of players and the media, had to back off that assessment a bit.

I think he does (know he needs to handle the locker room differently) the Johnson told MSNBC. Now, how do you correct that? Thats an interesting ... thats alchemy. Inside the locker room, its one of those things that, every year, its a little bit different.

Center Nick Mangold took to Twitter to defend his quarterback, writing: If unnamed sources want to attack Mark, man up and put your name to it.

It stems from anonymous players criticizing everything from Sanchezs work ethic to his ability to lead the team on an off the field.

Among the most scathing comments was a claim that Sanchez is lazy

We have to bring in another quarterback that will make him work at practice, an unnamed Jets player told the New York Daily News. Hes lazy and content because he knows hes not going to be benched.


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