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Insider: Sanchez not a pressure player

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By PFW staff

The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity:

• “(Jets QB) Mark Sanchez is not a pressure player. I think part of the reason he was selected was because (the Jets) felt like he had the right temperament and personality to handle all the criticism that comes in New York. Where I think they erred is in the preparation and demands of the position — USC quarterbacks have not been known as grinders, and I think the kid has had his head too much in the bright lights. … If you ask me, they need to flush it all and start fresh. None of it is working right now — the quarterback, the head coach, the GM. They need a complete culture change.” 

• “Missing on two drafts two years in a row does not hurt San Diego (for) those two years. It hits 3-4 years down the road when those (draft picks) are supposed to be good starters and depth players. The draft-heavy teams like San Diego and Chicago that really don’t like dipping into free agency or the waiver wire — when they realize they don’t have six or eight positions that they can play with, it forces you to jump in (to free agency). San Diego got involved with free agency the last two years and they missed on (the players they signed). It put them behind the 8-ball, to where they are reacting instead of acting. The bad drafts caught up to them.  That’s how you fall off.”

• “What’s interesting (is) you can come back quickly if you hit on two drafts. Where I have to give the Colts a lot of credit is the job they did in the (2012) draft. (Andrew) Luck, Coby Fleener, (T.Y.) Hilton, the other tight end (Dwayne Allen), they picked up the running back (Vick Ballard) in there and the other receiver (LaVon) Brazill. That is not where I would give them the most credit, though. It was sitting there in the middle of August and realizing ‘we don’t have any corners.’ It’s easy to forget that Vontae Davis was not the first guy they traded for. They landed (Cassius) Vaughn from Denver (in late May). They made a mistake on Justin King (who was signed in early June) and they cut him Week Six. They traded for (Josh) Gordy from St. Louis. Then they traded for Davis. They signed Darius Butler, whom Carolina cut on the final cutdown, after he sat on the street for (three weeks). They added three corners in a four-week period after the middle of August — that to me was huge. Butler and Vaughn both had key picks for TDs. For the news it generated, Davis has probably been the least productive. The other thing they have done really well is churning the bottom of the roster.”

• “(Cardinals head coach) Ken Whisenhunt is a great coach. His biggest problem is they didn’t solve the quarterback issue. I think they thought they had it figured out with (Kevin) Kolb. They should have known better.”

• “I heard a lot of people saying the loss of Justin Smith had a lot to do with the 49ers’ struggles in New England and Seattle. I don’t buy it. Ricky Jean Francois didn’t play too bad. They ran at him a few times early, but he played well enough. There were five other Pro Bowlers on the field with him. I don’t think you can ever put it on one guy.”

• “San Diego is the job everyone wants. It’s a great place to live. The Spanos family has been around a long time. They don’t fly by the seat of their pants. They’re one of the good-guy owners in the league. They get it. It’s a coveted place to be.”

• “Am I the only one that finds it odd that the judge (Robert E. Wallace) who presided over (Seahawks CB Richard) Sherman’s appeal (of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs) was (a longtime employee of) the team (St. Louis) that the Seahawks are playing this week? You want to talk about a conflict of interest. Roger Goodell needs to take a harder look at some of the checks and balances that are in place. In a lot of cases, I don’t think they are serving the best interests of the league.”

• “I think (Bears head coach) Lovie Smith is a good coach. The question is — how much has he been involved with personnel? That is what has caught up to him. How responsible has he been for not breaking up the band and setting the direction? That’s the question.”

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