The biggest storyline surrounding New York Jets’ camp has been the quarterback battle brewing between incumbent Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith. While many believe that Sanchez has the edge as the Jets’ starter the previous four seasons, the times are a changin’ for the Gang Green.
That’s part of why Smith will be under center when Week 1 rolls around for the Jets. The rookie may still have plenty to prove, but time will reveal that he’s best suited for the job.
Over the past four seasons, Sanchez has become more of a burden than anything else for the Jets. While he occasionally turns in an impressive performance and shows signs of the talent that made him a first-round pick back in 2008, the negatives vastly outweigh the positives.
For starters, Sanchez is a turnover machine. Whether it’s throwing the ball straight to defenders or finding unique ways to fumble the football, the four-year veteran hurts his offense more than he helps it. Over the years, it actually appears as though Sanchez has become scared to drop back for the Jets – albeit he hasn’t had the greatest pass blocking to keep him confident.
With Smith taking snaps, though, the Jets would have a much more dynamic weapon at quarterback. Combining tremendous athleticism with a big arm and outstanding pocket presence, Smith has a well-rounded game that makes him a danger to put up big numbers in a hurry. The youngster still has a lot to learn about being an NFL quarterback, but posseses the physical tools to provide New York a significant – and immediate – improvement over Sanchez.
What Smith really brings to the table is confidence and a winning attitude that the Jets simply haven’t seen from Sanchez since his rookie season. The former West Virginia star is oozing with moxie and charisma, although arrogance is also part of the equation. If anything, that’ll help counteract the self-pitying way that Sanchez has carried himself over the last couple of seasons.
Assuming Smith can take the necessary strides to learn how to be an NFL quarterback, it’s hard to find any reason other than injury that Sanchez remains the Jets’ starter. Smith has five times the confidence Sanchez ever had and is a much bigger threat to score on any given play.
The Jets need a fresh start, and there’s no better way to wipe the slate clean than putting Sanchez out of his misery and giving Smith the starting nod. They already did an overhaul of the roster this offseason, so why not cap it off with a new quarterback under center?
Until they pull the plug on Sanchez, the Jets will continue to be the butt of jokes around the NFL.