NY Daily News Report: Jets Could Be Moving on from Mark Sanchez

Matt BarbatoCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2013

Aug 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) walks off the field with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter against New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Munson/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

According to a report from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the New York Jets may be giving Geno Smith the starting duties permanently, thus ending the Mark Sanchez era.

The story, which lacked any quotes or mentioned any reputable sources, says that "Ryan, Idzik and much of the team's key decision makers are on board with moving on from Sanchez."

"Although speculation centered on Ryan's desire to cling to Sanchez, sources told the News that Ryan believes that Smith is the better option when healthy," the article said.

Whether or not the story is factual, the decision to put Smith on the field in Week 1 is about as premature as Mehta's article. Yes, Mark Sanchez and his 52 turnovers the past two seasons have squandered all hope of his capabilities to be a quality starting quarterback, but that doesn't mean Smith is a shoo-in to fill the void.

Smith impressed coaches during the first two weeks of training camp but wasn't the same player after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason opener against Detroit. He even had a practice in which Ryan said his performance was "brutal."

If Smith's performance in practice was brutal, then what word should be used to define his debut as a starter against the Giants? Smith was awful last weekend, completing 16 passes for 199 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He also made a big mistake by stepping outside of the end zone on his last drive in the fourth quarter.

That isn't to say Smith's performance will be a microcosm of his career, but it doesn't provide many signs of encouragement going forward. Smith struggled to read defensive schemes and tended to lock onto his primary target on some passing situations.

It's unknown whether Sanchez is a better player than Smith, but what's the sense of rushing the rookie onto the field when it appears he isn't quite ready to play at the professional level? Smith has the talent to become a quality starting quarterback, but he doesn't have the experience in a pro-style offense.

The Jets have little to gain and a lot to lose by making Smith the full-time starter in 2013. Even if Smith exceeds expectations, the talent around him limits the team to a low ceiling of eight or nine wins. But if Smith struggles, the basement could be an endless pitfall for his progression.

Sure, Ryan has come around on his stance, but it's much easier to change your mind knowing that Sanchez is injured and wouldn't be ready for Week 1 anyway.

The end of the Mark Sanchez era was inevitable in New York, but that doesn't mean the beginning of the Geno Smith era will bring any more promise in the immediate future.