With Mark Sanchez on the shelf due to a shoulder injury, the door is open for Geno Smith to be the New York Jets' starting quarterback in Week 1. According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, though, head coach Rex Ryan and the Jets' brass agree that Smith should be the starter regardless of Sanchez's health.
Although Ryan has been a staunch supporter of Sanchez over the past few seasons, Mehta is reporting that he and general manager John Idzik are in agreement that the Smith era should begin immediately.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Sanchez is unlikely to start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, as he is still nursing a deep shoulder bruise suffered in a preseason game against the New York Giants.
Smith fell significantly in the 2013 NFL draft after most considered him a surefire first-round pick. The Jets selected him in the second round, and it became abundantly clear that he would be in direct competition with Sanchez.
Sanchez and the Jets had a nightmarish 2012 campaign, as he threw for less than 3,000 yards with 13 touchdowns and 26 turnovers. The Jets have given Smith every opportunity to win the starting job this offseason, and while it can be argued that Sanchez has performed better, his injury makes the decision much easier.
Smith looked sharp early in training camp, but an ankle injury suffered in New York's preseason opener stunted his progress. Smith did throw for 199 yards in the Jets' third preseason game, but he also threw three interceptions, so he has been far from perfect in his own right.
If nothing else, Smith is something different. Sanchez did help lead the Jets to two AFC Championship Games, but much of that had to do with New York's dominant defense. Their defensive prowess has declined, however, so the Jets need a quarterback who can win games.
It remains to be seen if Smith can be that guy, but it has become clear that Sanchez can't get the job done.
According to Pro Football Talk, even Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg prefers Smith over Sanchez.
Sanchez has had plenty of opportunities to prove himself, but it seems as though the Jets are finally ready to move in a different direction. There will inevitably be some talk about Sanchez reentering the lineup when he returns if Smith struggles initially, but the Jets seem to be committed to Smith for now.
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