Finally, after an offseason full of drama and controversy for the Jets at the quarterback position, we are nearing an end to all the madness. On Saturday, Geno Smith will get his first chance to start for the Jets in their third preseason game against the New York Giants. Mark Sanchez has put up average stats thus far, but due to an ankle injury to Geno Smith and his own experience he is viewed as the slight favorite to win this battle. However, that does not mean that Geno has essentially lost the battle. If the former Mountaineer has a good game on Saturday, then he will be in a prime position to win the starting job.
Since Geno Smith was injured and unable to participate in the New York Jets’ second preseason game, Mark Sanchez was given the start. After playing three full quarters, Sanchez played decently and had some shining moments and some moments in which Jets fans across the nation probably said in unison, “same old Sanchez,” although possibly much more profane. The biggest struggle that Sanchez failed to overcome was his lack of production in the red zone. With the clock running down in the first half, the Jets had a chance for a field goal with 9 seconds left. Inside the 5 yard-line, the Jets took a shot for the end zone, figuring that if they didn’t score a touchdown they would still be able to kick the field goal. However, Sanchez scrambled out of the pocket and successfully danced around and allowed the clock to run out prior to his incompletion.
On a previous red zone trip, Sanchez had multiple receivers open in the end zone, although an underthrown ball to an open receiver resulted in an interception. Aside from the red zone, Sanchez played fairly well and was able to find and connect with open receivers, including Jeff Cumberland on a long touchdown pass. Sanchez’s overall performance was average, and it wasn’t enough to put him far enough behind or ahead of Geno Smith to make the decision an easier for Rex Ryan.
Geno Smith will most likely play for all of the first half to make up for the game he missed. The keys for Geno Smith to win the starting job rely on Sanchez’s mistakes. If Geno Smith can be successful in the red zone and in the two minute drill, along with playing well enough and not making silly mistakes, he will be in a prime position to win the starting job.
Rex Ryan will most likely name a starter early next week, possibly as early as Monday. Rex Ryan needs time to converse with the rest of the coaching staff and watch film together before he can name a Week 1 starter. Until then, Jets fans can only anticipate the answer to the question we have all been wondering since Geno Smith was drafted on that Friday night months ago.