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Pace sees Sanchez as solid No. 2 QB

Posted Mar 28, 2017

Bears general manager Ryan Pace explained Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings why he views veteran Mark Sanchez as a "really good solid No. 2 quarterback."

PHOENIX – The Bears signed veteran Mark Sanchez to be a backup quarterback in large part due to his experience, confidence and knowledge of the game.

That's what general manager Ryan Pace told reporters during a 21-minute session at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday, four days after the Bears inked Sanchez to a one-year contract.

"Mike Glennon is our starting quarterback and Sanchez I see as a really good solid No. 2 quarterback," Pace said. "I like him in this role for a lot of reasons and one of them is the experience that he has. He's been through the highs and lows of our league. He's played in some big markets. He's dealt with the challenges. He's dealt with success.

New Bears quarterback Mark Sanchez spent last season backing up Dak Prescott in Dallas.

"He's the kind of player that exudes confidence. I like that about him. He's knowledgeable. He's smart, and him and Mike have already kind of clicked. They're together and they're organizing workouts on their own and those kind of things are important."

Sanchez has appeared in 77 NFL games with 72 starts over eight seasons with the Jets (2009-13), Eagles (2014-15) and Cowboys (2016). He has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 15,219 yards with 86 touchdowns, 86 interceptions and a 73.9 passer rating.

Last year the Bears signed No. 2 quarterback Brian Hoyer shortly after the draft ended, but they acted quicker this year following a face-to-face meeting with Sanchez.

"Honestly it was just kind of where the market was going," Pace said. "I think if we waited much longer he wouldn't have been available. We brought him in and visited with him. We had some important questions to kind of know where his mindset was because I've never met him personally like that. Over the course of that visit it became very evident that he would mesh well with Mike Glennon and fit really well in the room, so we're excited about it."

Pace believes that cohesiveness is critical at every position, but no more so than at quarterback.

"There's no more important room than the quarterback room and we put a lot of thought as to how that room blends together, especially with the No. 2 position," Pace said. "Obviously we're evaluating the physical traits and what he can do physically but [also] how they fit in as teammates, how they help each other, how they support each other.

"I think we've all seen really good rooms that are better as a whole because of the people that are in there and maybe some rooms that don't click well together. I think we've created an environment not only with him but also with Connor Shaw where it's a room that can really click together and make each other better."

Signing Sanchez won't preclude the Bears from selecting a quarterback in the NFL Draft, and they feel the seasoned veteran would have the same type of positive impact on a rookie.

Sanchez was selected by the Jets with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft out of USC. He immediately became the team's No. 1 quarterback and led the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two NFL seasons.

After starting 62 of 64 games in four seasons with the Jets, Sanchez spent the 2013 season on injured reserve after suffering a shoulder injury during the preseason. He then signed with the Eagles in 2014 and started the final eight games after Nick Foles was injured, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 2,418 yards with 14 TDs, 11 interceptions and an 88.4 rating.

Sanchez played sparingly with the Eagles in 2015 and was then traded to the Broncos on March 11, 2016. But he was cut by Denver Sept. 3 and signed with the Cowboys later the same day. In Dallas, Sanchez backed up rookie phenom Dak Prescott, a fifth-round draft pick who was voted to the Pro Bowl and selected as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

"I thought in Dallas last year he dealt with a kind of unique situation with their quarterbacks and I thought he handed it very well," Pace said.

"We've talked to a lot of people about him around the league and heard a lot of great things. And when he was with us, he just confirmed a lot of those things; where he's at at this point in his career, and his maturity level and some of the knowledge that he has that he can pull from the past to help Mike. You think about Mike, he's still a young player. Mike's a young player coming into a starting role in a big market, and Sanchez has done that. So I think having some of those experiences is going to help behind the scenes."