Joe Namath supports Mark Sanchez

In Joe Namath’s eyes, Geno Smith might be a “sensational athlete” but he also believes that drafting Smith was gilding the Jets proverbial lily.

mark-sanchez“No, I don’t think [the Jets] needed a quarterback,” Namath told Ebeneezer Samuel of the Daily News Tuesday at the United Way’s Gridiron Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. “They needed the other positions filled. Possibly offensive line. They got some defensive line. The safeties are still questionable. The outside linebackers are still questionable.”

The Jets drafted three offensive lineman over the course of the draft, but Namath’s point was likely about drafting players earlier on in the draft.  Even so, the concerns about what the team has at the safety and outside linebacker positions (as well as tight end) are worth concern.

Sanchez might have had some bumps during his career in New York but Namath still thinks he can be the leader of this offense.  Still that can be hard to do without the right weapons around him. “I know that he can do better than he’s done,” Namath stated.  “I also know what it’s like not to necessarily have the weapons you’d like to have, not to necessarily have the time you’d like to accomplish.”

Known for his guarantees, Namath didn’t shy away from one about the team’s veteran quarterback. “I promise you you’ll see a different guy [in 2013]. I believe you’ll see a different guy,” Namath said. “Mark’s not a puppy anymore . He’s gone through some things [... a] growing process. As far as Sanchez goes, even if he’s not with the Jets, he’s going to play as long as he wants to. He’s that good. As long as he wants to, he’s going to be in the NFL.”

Brian Bassett,

If Mark Sanchez plays as well as Namath thinks he will, then there should be no question about why he should be the team’s starter. If Sanchez gets outplayed by a rookie, or a backup, or a camp arm, then he doesn’t deserve it and the team has no reason to give him … the benefit of the doubt.

There seems to be a growing dread about whatever decision the Jets might make about who becomes the team’s season starting quarterback. I think the biggest concern is that the starting quarterback job will be handed to one player or another without an unbiased evaluation process by the coaches and GM.

Mark Sanchez has had four seasons worth of chances to cement his job. It’s come to the point where the GM that drafted him and then re-signed him to a totally unnecessary contract is now gone. It’s come to the point that the head coach who drafted him might be in his last year with the team. It’s come to the point where the progress that was expected of him hasn’t materialized and it’s come to the point where the team has acquired their second quarterback in as many years — whether rightly or wrongly — to challenge Sanchez for his starting gig.

It’s been four years and we’re back at the same point, we were leading into the 2009 season; the only difference between now and then is the part which Sanchez will play. Last time around he was the fresh-faced rookie full of promise. This time around, that part will be played by Geno Smith. But will benefit of the doubt be the determiner in the case of a tie?

The hope here is that John Idzik is doing away with that sort of thinking, but we’ll have to see how it all plays out first.