CORTLAND, N.Y. — Mark Sanchez wants to be like Eli Manning.
And so far, the Jets quarterback is right on track. He'll need one terrific finish to his fourth NFL season to keep pace, though. Super Bowl or bust? Not quite, but the pressure's on — and Sanchez knows it.
"This whole thing is a learning process, and it really is a marathon and not a sprint," Sanchez said after training camp practice Monday. "So, just keep your head down, keep working, smile, and have a good time with it."
There are similarities through the New York quarterbacks' first three seasons: Doubts from fans and media that they could ever truly lead their franchise. Struggles on the field. The immense pressure of playing in New York.
Sanchez knows this and has worked hard in the offseason, perhaps spurred by the presence of Tim Tebow as his backup. One day this spring, Sanchez decided to see how closely he and the Giants quarterback compare through three seasons.
• Sanchez: 9,209 yards passing with 55 touchdowns and 51 interceptions in 47 games, and four road playoff wins.
• Manning: 8,049 yards passing with 54 TDs and 44 INTs in 41 games, and two playoff losses.
Their quarterback ratings? Exactly the same at 73.2.
In Year 4, Manning elevated his game in the postseason and began his climb to elite status.
"That fourth year, I think he threw one pick in the playoffs when they won that Super Bowl, one," Sanchez said. "And I think he might have thrown 20 in the regular season. I've been there, and plenty of quarterbacks have been there, so you see the margin for error in this league is so small. And once the quarterback, the offense and the coordinator really realize that, and take advantage of that and show that on the field, you can win a lot of games and be very successful."
COWBOYS: Cornerback Mike Jenkins, a former USF standout, insisted he never asked for a trade despite reports to the contrary. "Y'all haven't got any quote out of me yet, so as long as it hasn't come from my mouth I don't understand how a lot of people can come up with a lot of things," he told ESPN.com.
GIANTS: Projected starting cornerback Terrell Thomas' status for the season was put in doubt when his surgically repaired right knee developed swelling.
PANTHERS: General manager Marty Hurney said defensive end/linebacker Jyles Tucker left training camp so he could focus on gaining weight. He reported weighing less than 230 pounds.
RAVENS: Tight end Dennis Pitta broke his hand in practice and may need surgery but is expected to be ready for the season opener. … Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie arrived after missing the first three practices, but he did not practice because of a strained muscle in his back.
REDSKINS: Starting left guard Kory Lichtensteiger had arthroscopic surgery to remove loose particles from his right knee and is expected to be out until the Sept. 9 opener.