The New York Jets quarterback battle has been anything but pretty since it started. Mark Sanchez is coming off of back to back horrible seasons full of mistakes that never should have happened. He is competing against rookie second round pick Geno Smith, he had a flashy career at West Virginia but has been “brutal” at times in practice according to head coach Rex Ryan. With things looking bleak under center for the Jets, week 3 of the preseason showed us just how ugly their situation really is.
Playing against the team they share their stadium with, the Jets were able to defeat the rival Giants by a score of 24-21 in overtime on Saturday, however they certainly paid the price for their success.
With fans calling for the head of Sanchez and urging the Jets to make the switch, Rex Ryan finally gave Geno Smith the opportunity to start a game and prove that he can be the team’s starter this season. The third week of the preseason is the dress rehearsal for opening week. A huge opportunity for Smith to showcase his skills, starters usually play far past halftime in week three.
Lets just say he failed to unseat Mark Sanchez from the top spot on the depth chart.
Actually, Geno Smith was downright horrible. Mark Sanchez-esque.
Receiving plenty of opportunities to make a play, Smith struggled throughout. Officially he went 16-30 for 199 yards and a touchdown and three interceptions. He didn’t even display an ability to scramble downfield and make plays with his legs.
Brutal outing, not even close to the performance required of a starting quarterback. It appeared that when Smith left the game he had handed over the keys to the Jets offense to Sanchez. The battle should have been over at that point, the rookie needed to sit and develop his skills for a year or so.
Then Rex Ryan decided that he really wanted the Snoopy Trophy. Wait, what’s that, you haven’t heard of it? It is the award given to the winner of the annual preseason game between the Giants and Jets.
The battle wasn’t over. Out trotted the Sanchize in the fourth quarter of a meaningless game. The offensive line was full of backups, a major risk to your potential starting passer. The decision would blow up right in the face of Ryan.
With around 6 minutes left in the game, Sanchez dropped back to pass. As he released the ball he was drilled by Marvin Austin of the Giants, slamming him to the turf. Sanchez clutched his shoulder in pain and remained on the ground. Officially it was a 23 yard completion to Mohamed Massaquoi, however it was much more than that and will forever alter this Jets season.
As one NFL executive said of the coach’s decision to put in Sanchez.”That was gross mismanagement of the quarterback position. I’d be pissed if I were [Sanchez].”
Responding to critics, Ryan said of his quest to secure the Snoopy Trophy, “If it wasn’t important. I wouldn’t have put Mark out there.”
The man who appeared to have won the starting job took a few practice throws on the sideline, but was not able to continue. After that he went in for X-Rays and will have an MRI on Sunday.
If the injury proves to be serious, Smith might still be a starting quarterback as a rookie. It would give him the job by default, just like the Jets management wanted after drafting him. However the decision to play the man who deserved to be their starting quarterback in a meaningless game could spell the end for Rex Ryan as a Jet should his team under-perform again. He has a lot on the line this year.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express