The New York Jets have announced that Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback on Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This is not unexpected news, as Sanchez outplayed Geno Smith in the team’s first preseason game and has been the more consistent quarterback in practice.
Sanchez did throw the one horrible INT against the Detroit Lions, but he was very solid the rest of the night and looked much more comfortable under center than Smith did. When you add in Smith’s poor practice yesterday that made headlines all over the internet, the only logical conclusion was that Sanchez would start.
This news means that Sanchez is more likely than ever to open the season as the Jets’ starting quarterback. Smith was always going to have to wow coaches to win the job, and Saturday will be his last chance to do so. The Jets will likely end the competition at the beginning of next week, so the time is now for Smith to step up and prove he is ready to be the starter.
For Sanchez, a solid, turnover-free performance Saturday will almost certainly nail down the starting job. If the two quarterbacks perform at even remotely similar levels against the Jags, then Sanchez will have won the battle. Sanchez has shown a better grasp of the offense thus far for the Jets, and they are looking for their quarterback to manage the game and not make mistakes.
Right now, the staff feels that Sanchez is more likely to be successful in that role than Smith is.
Jets fans may not want to hear that Sanchez is going to start again, but the reality is that him starting is in the best interest of the team. Smith is clearly not ready, and forcing him into the lineup could lead to such bad play that it destroys his confidence. Sanchez gives the Jets the best chance to win this season, and Smith still needs more coaching and practice reps.
Expect the Jets’ quarterback battle to be over following Saturday’s game, and expect Mark Sanchez to be the winner.