Sanchez or Geno? Who knows at this point for Jets
Geno Smith appears not ready for prime time, and Mark Sanchez
might not be ready for the opener.
Now what for the New York Jets? Well, they have less than two
weeks to solve their big quarterback question before they face
Tampa Bay on Sept. 8 in the regular-season opener.
”We said from Day 1 that there was no timetable on us
announcing a starting quarterback,” coach Rex Ryan said
And, there’s no rush, of course – except when you consider that
the preseason is nearly over and the Jets still have no clarity on
Smith was given an opportunity to possibly seize the starting
job last Saturday against the Giants, but came up with a dismal
performance that included three interceptions and taking a safety
when he stepped out of the back of the end zone.
Sanchez, who appeared in great shape to win the competition, is
now recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in garbage time
against the Giants – and could keep him out for the start of the
It is conceivable, of course, that the Jets could keep everyone
– the media, fans and opponents – guessing until the Friday before
their game against the Buccaneers.
”We’ll probably have our decision before that,” Ryan said.
”But as we said, we’re not going to rush the decision until we’re
completely comfortable with that decision. And, we’ll stay with
”Hey, I don’t know what else to say about it.”
Ryan is probably a bit surprised he’s even still talking about
the competition at this point. After all, it was deemed an ”open
competition” that would be decided when one of the quarterbacks
had elevated himself above the other.
But, it has been so tightly contested that there was no clear
opening, an opportunity for most observers to say, ”That’s the
Until Saturday night.
That’s when Smith showed his inexperience in his first NFL start
with some jitters, mistakes and missteps through three-plus
”It (was) pretty uneven,” Smith said. ”I had some ups and
downs. It’s all a part of the learning curve.”
It’s a curve that could continue through Thursday’s game against
Philadelphia and into Week 1 against Tampa Bay. Ryan said the Jets
haven’t yet determined who’s playing against the Eagles, but
Sanchez will certainly not.
Many fans and media assumed Sanchez, with a solid camp and
preseason performance, had clinched the starting job after Smith’s
performance. But then, Ryan wanted to see more of Sanchez, who went
into the game and had his right shoulder crunched by Marvin Austin
after completing a pass with less than 6 minutes left in the fourth
Sanchez is day to day with the injury, which neither he nor Ryan
would detail. Sanchez is staying positive, though, about
potentially being ready for the season opener.
”That’s the goal,” Sanchez said. ”Every injury is different.
It’s all subjective at this point, and I’m going to do everything I
possibly can. That’s all I can promise.”
Sanchez refused to speculate about possibly losing the starting
job, which he has held since coming into the league in 2009,
because of the injury. He also wouldn’t go into what type of
rehabilitation process he faces.
”Emotionally, you’re just upset, and that’s really where your
head’s at,” he said. ”You’re just upset to be hurt. You never
want to be hurt. You work too hard to get hurt and it’s just a
bummer. So, you just rebound, rehab your butt off and get back as
soon as possible.”
And, if he’s not ready to go against Tampa Bay, the starter
could be Smith – by default. One thing’s for sure: It won’t be
either Greg McElroy or Matt Simms, who has had an impressive camp
while competing for the No. 3 job.
Smith has shown some promise this preseason, and come a long way
with improving his footwork and picking up Marty Mornhinweg’s
offense. The Jets claimed they needed much more film on Smith to
better evaluate him after he sat out a game with a sprained ankle,
and they certainly got it against the Giants.
”With Geno, there was the good, the bad and the ugly,” Ryan
The good was the two scoring drives he led in the 24-21 overtime
win, including a 22-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. The
bad was the interceptions, although Ryan credited Justin Tuck for
making a ”great play” on one of them. As for the ugly, that was
the safety when Smith lost track of his surroundings on the
Despite all of that, Smith insisted that if the decision came
that he would be the Week 1 starter, he’d be ready to lead the
”Yes, I am,” he said. ”I’ve been working hard, extremely hard
this offseason. I’m preparing myself to be a starter Week 1 and if
I’m given the chance, I’ll be prepared for it.”
Sanchez, meanwhile, wouldn’t say whether he thought he had won
the starting job before his injury.
”I feel like I’ve put together a great camp and it’s been my
best camp,” he said. ”That decision is going to be up to the
coaches. So, we’ll see.”
NOTES: WR Santonio Holmes, taken off the physically unable to
perform list last Friday, participated in positional drills as he
works his way back from a foot injury suffered in Week 4 last
season. … CB Antonio Cromartie (hip) rode a stationary bike,
along with Sanchez, CB Dee Milliner (calf) and NT Kenrick Ellis
(back), during the 30-minute window of practice the media could
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org