Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post recently spoke with center Nick Mangold, who hasn't lost faith in his quarterback and believes Sanchez should win the quarterback competition this summer:
Nick Mangold thinks Mark Sanchez should win Jets’ QB job, tells me he believes rest of locker room feels the same: http://t.co/YEaef5XBXk— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) June 19, 2013
Digging into the meat of Hubbuch's column, it seems clear that Mangold's opinion is based partly on his loyalty to Sanchez and partly on his lack of faith in Geno Smith:
I think Mark is a fantastic quarterback for us, and I think he can do some good things. He showed some good flashes in the spring, getting [new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s] system down and commanding the offense way that he should be...Mark had a little bit better idea of the ideas and of seeing things, which are things Geno is going to have to work his butt off on.
Which quarterback will start in Week 1 for the Jets?
Smith was hyped coming out of West Virginia, but a closer look at the tape revealed a player who was nowhere near ready to step into a starting lineup. His performances thus far in OTAs and minicamp have done nothing to change that fact.
The Jets would be foolish to start him while Sanchez—a player with experience who has already been beaten up in the NFL—is still on the roster.
The thing is, Sanchez isn't in a position to succeed this year, and neither is Smith or any other quarterback on the roster. It would take a miracle worker like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning to turn the fortunes of New York's offense around in 2013.
Sanchez is far from a miracle worker, however, and he's going to have another dismal season with the Jets.
New York features one of the worst groups of skill-position players in the NFL and its offensive line has resembled a turnstile the past few years.
You know things are bad when it's considered a boon to land a guy like Kellen Winslow Jr., who was out of the NFL for most of the 2012 season.
He was first traded from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Seattle Seahawks in May, and then he was released by Seattle in early September. The New England Patriots then signed him a few weeks later, only to release him before the month was up.
Yet Winslow was reportedly one of the Jets' best playmakers during its minicamp, according to Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News.
That isn't encouraging news for fans.
Furthermore, Santonio Holmes is coming off an injury and isn't as explosive as he used to be, while Stephen Hill is struggling with a horrible case of "butterfingers." Seth Walder of the New York Daily News reports that Hill dropped many a pass this spring.
Since coming out of college in 2009, Sanchez has never lived up to the first-round pick that New York spent on him. Remember, the Jets traded up to land him, moving from No. 17 to No. 5 while giving up a second-round pick.
In his four years as a pro, Sanchez has struggled with accuracy and decision-making, compiling some ugly statistics in the process: 55.1 percent completion rate, 6.5 yards per attempt, 69 interceptions and a passer rating of 71.7.
Poor mechanics, pocket awareness (wait, he has pocket awareness?) and a lack of arm strength are the biggest marks against Sanchez, and he can't do a darn thing about the latter.
His weaknesses as an NFL passer don't mesh well with the Jets' horrible receiving corps and suspect offensive line.
Will Sanchez be the quarterback for New York in 2014?
So, while Mangold and his teammates are pulling for Sanchez to win the starting job, all it means at this point is that Smith isn't ready to lead this club.
Sanchez will suffer through another dismal season in 2013, as will the Jets.
Nobody should be surprised if this team is picking near the top of the draft in 2014, at which point general manager John Idzik will have a huge decision to make about Sanchez, Smith and the future of the quarterback position for this franchise.
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