Mark Sanchez went to Denver six months ago hoping to win the Broncos’ starting job. He arrived in DFW this weekend, accepting a backup role.
“It’s not what you would expect,” Sanchez said Monday as the Cowboys returned to practice in preparation for the season opener. “Maybe things didn’t go perfectly as planned, but I’m here for a reason. I’ve got to continue to put my best foot forward and work as hard as I can and be a valuable asset to this team. You owe it to the guys around you to keep working hard, whether that’s scout team or whatever it means.
“If I get to see the field, great. If not, great. Just keep plugging away and enjoy being a Dallas Cowboy.”
Sanchez, 29, became a salary-cap casualty in Denver after losing the quarterback battle with Trevor Siemian. The Broncos traded for Sanchez in March, giving up a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, after Peyton Manning’s retirement.
I thought there was a great opportunity [in Denver], and unfortunately it didn’t work out. Without that happening, I wouldn’t get a chance here, so this could be ... a better place for me.
The fifth overall pick of the 2009 draft now joins his fourth team in four years after longer stints with the New York Jets and the Eagles.
“Things didn’t go the way you planned [in Denver],” Sanchez said. “I thought there was a great opportunity there, and unfortunately it didn’t work out. Without that happening, I wouldn’t get a chance here, so this could be the right spot for me and a better place for me. You just continue to work hard and attack it.”
The Cowboys sought a veteran after losing starter Tony Romo for 6-10 weeks with a compression fracture in his back and placing backup Kellen Moore on injured reserve with a broken right ankle.
Rookie Dak Prescott will start, with Sanchez serving as the backup until Romo’s return. Second-year man Jameill Showers was signed to the practice squad.
“Mark’s been a good player in this league,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s been a starting quarterback. He’s been to the playoffs as a starting quarterback. He’s started a lot of games. He was a very successful college quarterback. We played against him in our division, so we’ve seen him up close.
“He’s an experienced guy who has a lot of ability. He can move around. He can throw the football. He’s had success in the league. We thought it was a good opportunity to add to the depth of our quarterback position. When he was available, certainly it was a good opportunity for us to bring him here.”
Sanchez’s numbers aren’t anything to text home about: He sports a 37-35 record as a starter, with 86 touchdowns, 84 interceptions and 24 lost fumbles. His career completions percentage stands at .567.
If I get to see the field, great. If not, great. Just keep plugging away and enjoy being a Dallas Cowboy.”
But that’s 72 more starts than Prescott has.
Sanchez concedes Prescott will help him as much as he will help Prescott while the veteran learns the Cowboys’ offense.
“He’s got to coach me on a little bit,” Sanchez said. “When you can teach it to somebody, that means you’re really starting to get it. I don’t want to bombard the guy, but even during routes on air or little things when it’s kind of in passing, I’m not going to go next to him in the huddle and be like, ‘Hey, what is this?’ I’m not going to bother him that way.
“When it’s the right time, and you can kind of feel that being a veteran, when it’s the right time, ‘Hey, what’s the depth on this route or what were you looking at on that? Do you want that versus single-high or two-high or what was that call again? Say it again.’ So he’s been great.”