Many believed that the New York Jets would be handing veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez the starting job after an injury to Geno Smith caused him to miss the team’s second preseason game of the year and struggle in practice, but the rookie was named the starting signal-caller for this weekend’s game and it looks like he could still win the No. 1 spot for the regular season.
The third preseason game is always the most important for starters and it is looking more like the team is slanting the competition in Smith’s favor so that he can win the starting job with two turnover free quarters on Saturday.
From Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:
The “fair and open” competition has been a charade from Day One, complete with organizational shenanigans (including changing the rules along the way) designed to help Smith.
Coach Idzik, who undercut Ryan by oddly proclaiming at the outset of training camp that he’d have a “pretty big role” in deciding the Week 1 starting quarterback, should have just given Smith the job from the beginning.
Nobody would have blamed the Jets for putting Smith atop the depth chart this offseason. Idzik & Co. need to properly evaluate the rookie this season before determining whether the Jets need to draft a quarterback in 2014.
Sanchez has clearly outplayed Smith in the preseason and the veteran has outperformed his competition during practice, but if the Jets brass has been in Smith’s corner all along there is not much that he can do.
For Smith, the ball is in his court.
We will find out if he is ready for the bright lights this weekend when the job is on the line.