Mark Sanchez, the veteran New York Jets quarterback embroiled in a battle to be the starter with rookie Geno Smith, finally caught a break at training camp in Cortland, N.Y., on Saturday after getting booed by fans.
The former USC star from Orange County threw a 57-yard touchdown pass at the end of a scrimmage and then had cornerback Antonio Cromartie get his back after it.
Sanchez, who had a pass intercepted by Cromartie earlier in the scrimmage, stumbled and fell when untouched on a play. Both led to some Jets fans jeering and booing him.
''It was nice to close it that way and finish strong,’' Sanchez said of his scoring strike to Stephen Hill. ''It’s really like a practice. I know it’s like a game atmosphere, but the way we’re set up where some drives are with the 1s and some are with the 2s, you’re just trying to get your feel and get into a little bit of a rhythm, which isn’t always easy.’'
Cromartie was not so easygoing on the matter of derisive fans.
''I think that’s bull,’' Cromartie said. ''My thing is, if you’re going to be a fan, be a fan. He’s our quarterback and Geno’s our quarterback, and they’re in a competition. You don’t come out here and boo anybody. We’re a family out here and we make sure we look out for each other.’'
Sanchez, who twice led the Jets to the AFC championship game before struggling the last two seasons, takes the criticism in stride.
''Oh, shoot, I don’t care,’' he said. ''That’s the way it goes.’'