For a vast majority, Mark Sanchez is not the people’s first choice, second choice or third choice. Rather it’s rookie Geno Smith who is the flavor of the year much like Sanchez was in his glorified competition against Kellen Clemens. While many are clamoring for Smith to start on September 8, at least nine former Jets would have Mark Sanchez taking the snaps.
Of the twenty retirees at practice yesterday, ESPN New York interviewed twelve asking “Who would you start on opening day?” Three were undecided. For the other nine, it came down to experience. Many were concerned about Geno Smith diving headfirst into the pool and felt Sanchez, the established veteran, should take the reigns. That said, there were by no means any ringing endorsements for Mark.
Joe Klecko’s statements sum up the overall feelings of the players. He stated, “It’s up in the air. If the kid [Geno] shows something against the Giants, I think it throws a dilemma into Rex’s kitchen. Sanchez has too much baggage. If Geno does well, it’s a good dilemma.”
Eric Weeks, TheJetsBlog.comI get that a lot of people want Smith to start because the back of his jersey doesn’t read “Sanchez” but, I agree that we haven’t seen enough of Smith to anoint him the end all to be all just yet. Granted, he played well early in training camp but between the team not getting their “full evaluation” in Detroit and Smith hurting his ankle, not playing against Jacksonville and having a few bad practices, there should be no rush to call the competition.
I don’t want the Jets to make the same mistakes they did with Sanchez and have that affect Geno’s future. I think it’s also important to manage expectations. Geno could be the face of the future or he could be another stopgap. There’s so much unknown that fans shouldn’t go overboard in any one direction (too late, I know).
One thing is certain: It’s inevitable that Geno Smith will be running this offense at some point this year if not opening day. I just don’t see anyway around it. There have been some improvements in Sanchez during the preseason but, he continues to commit turnovers I would expect to see from Geno and not a fifth year veteran. Short of turning into Tom Brady, or even Matt Ryan, and delivering playoff wins, I cannot see Sanchez starting much longer.