It seems inevitable that at some point this season, probably very early on, Mark Sanchez will lose his starting quarterback job for the New York Jets, probably for good. It’s not that Geno Smith is that great, but Sanchez is past the point of getting a break from fans, who won’t even let him get through scrimmage without getting booed.
Over 6000 fans came to see the annual white vs green scrimmage in Cortland, as Smith got to work most of the reps with the first teams offense because it was his turn in the rotation, but from the way people and Rex Ryan himself reacted, it seems like Sanchez’ days as the number one quarterback for the Jets are numbered.
Sanchez has been looking off all summer long, but going 6-11 with an interception, an embarrassing tumble and missing a couple of wide open receivers with hard-to-watch overthrowing was a bit much for the mostly calm crowd which started moaning, groaning and eventually booing. Now multiply that by about 10, thinking of MetLife stadium, and the scenes don’t seem too pretty in your mind.
Sanchez himself slightly redeemed himself with the last pass of the game, a 57-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Hill, but it was still not enough to shake the impression that rookie Geno Smith, a second-round pick, is probably going to be the better player right off the bat.
Not that Smith lead to touchdowns and scores. He finished with 9-of-16, but he didn’t turnover the ball as he led his team on four drives, scoring only three points total. Yet his composure, poise and arm strength make you think that without having Ryan feeling some loyalty to Sanchez, this shouldn’t even be a competition – Smith is the better of the two quarterbacks, and should be the one who is starting.
Sanchez has been booed before, but never have the scales been tipped against him so badly, at least via media perception, right from the start. The Jets get a lot more coverage than they should compared to their relative success or failure in the NFL, but they’re a team that invites drama, especially over the last few years through an outspoken head coach and some decisions that have made their quarterback battles intriguing despite the lack of quality in them.
What will be a good season for the Jets? One in which there won’t be so much talk about replacing the quarterback. It’s hard to see them doing any better than the 7-9 from last season, as the team simply traded away its best player while not being able to add anything in his place, but everyone knew this was going to be a lame duck season. Still, there are things to achieve and questions to be answered from it, with the most prominent one being who will end up being the number quarterback when the season begins, and ends. Right now, Smith should have the edge, and don’t be surprised to see McElroy capture Sanchez’ place on the bench as well at some point.