Jets Brunell works with first team; Rex sends message to Sanchez

By Marc A. Greenberg

Message to New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez:  Wake up.

That’s what head coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday in practice when he had backup Mark Brunell, for the first time this season, take reps with the first team.

The move is similar to what Ryan did last December when he announced that he was thinking of benching Sanchez and for Brunell. Sanchez would go on to tell GQ the move made him want to fight Ryan.

Jets QB Mark Sanchez was limited in practice yesterday with the first team. Robert Sabo/New York Daily News

For the record, Sanchez played one of his best games the next week in a win against the Steelers.

“I don’t think it really matters, but for some reason he got a little hot under the collar and gave that super-competitive fighting spirit that he knows he has,” Ryan said.

“I know Mark Sanchez extremely well,” Ryan said. “I know how tough, how that fighting spirit he has. If it takes me to do this and take a punch in the nose, I don’t care. I’ll do it. But we’ve got to have it from him. He’s the guy. He’s my guy and we have to have it from him. … When he’s that way, we’re extremely hard to beat.”

Sanchez said he didn’t have a problem with Brunell taking a few reps, but gave quick answers. “That’s Rex’s deal.”

“We’re both competitive, we both want to win, we both have our own ways of going about things and that’s all”, Sanchez said. “It’s a matter of winning. So I’m not mad at him. I don’t know where that came from. We’re good. I’m just trying to win the game. I’m not worried about anything else.”

“It’s playing quarterback in New York,” he said. “It’s great when you’re winning, it’s tough when you’re losing. So we just have to go win.”