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Joe Namath on Mark Sanchez: 'great,' 'sensational'

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is ready for a

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is ready for a challenge in Patriots coach Bill Belichick's defense. (Credit: John Dunn)

Joe Namath was in attendance for the Jets' opener in Houston but had to settle for watching their pivotal victory over the Patriots on TV in his Florida home.

He emerged even more impressed than he was the week before.

"First of all, the defense has come a long way, providing a lot of excitement for the fans, for all of us," he said.

"It's a different team than we've seen. You have to go back to the Sack Exchange where we were excited about a defense, to really feel, 'We can win with this defense!'

"And you've got, I think, potentially an outstanding offensive line. These guys have been around, and from what I've seen the last two weeks it looks like a pretty good team."

What about the rookie quarterback, Joe?

"You know, from his first two weeks' work, it's great. It's sensational. We're thrilled to death. He's an exceptional guy, according to everyone I've talked with. I met him before the Houston game. He's done some interesting things in his young life. He's a real workhorse and a smart guy and he's got good football sense, too."

When I asked Namath whether he'd like to see a young Jets quarterback finally come along and win a championship so people would stop comparing every young quarterback to him, Namath laughed for about 10 seconds and said, "How would you feel?"

A friend who was with him added, "Like when that new guy comes to Newsday and takes your job."

I took this to mean that while Joe genuinely would like the Jets to win another title, he is not ready to give up his role as the franchise's official and forever quarterback hero.

Photo: John Dunn

Tags: Jets

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