For the fourth year in a row, Mark Sanchez invited his teammates to his hometown in Southern California for “Jets West” camp.
Sanchez used the three-day camp as a way to build chemistry with his receivers and learn the new offense, but the most notable absentee was Geno Smith. Smith skipped the camp to train by himself in Florida, leaving heavy speculation about the relationship between the two New York Jets quarterbacks. While Jets West camp is a good opportunity for team bonding, Smith was wise not to attend.
Smith’s decision to skip the camp kept him out of the media spotlight and away from his competitor for the starting quarterback job. He’ll have plenty of time over the next few months to bond with teammates and pick up the offensive system. But for now, keeping to himself and working out independently is the right move.
There was really not much to gain at the camp for Smith. If he attended, it might have come off as a respectful gesture to the veteran Sanchez, but that’s not what this offseason is about. Smith needs to focus on developing his individual abilities and winning the quarterback competition this summer.
He has no reason to cozy up to Sanchez, who’s had enough trouble in New York without Smith in the picture. Any unnecessary interaction between Smith and Sanchez creates a media buzz that the Jets don’t need to bring into training camp.
At the moment, the two quarterbacks are putting pressure on one another to perform at a high level. For the first time in Sanchez’s career, he has a legitimate threat looming behind him. For the first time in Smith’s life, he can finally taste how close he is to becoming an NFL starter.
Jets West camp is an annual gathering for Sanchez and the boys, not a reason for two competitors to act like friends. Smith did the right thing by sticking to his own path and avoiding Sanchez. After all, they are competing for a job.