Jets’ Mark Sanchez remains day-to-day, Geno Smith likely to start Week 1
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Sanchez is unlikely to be ready to start the Jets’ season opener after injuring his shoulder in the last week’s preseason win over the New York Giants. Sanchez suffered was hurt in the fourth quarter of that game after being hit hard by Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin. He stayed down for a few minutes, in obvious pain, before leaving the game. Sanchez underwent an X-ray and MRI following the game, which revealed he had a deep right shoulder bruise.
The Jets officially listed Sanchez as day-to-day just one day after their third preseason game, and indicated that he will miss Thursday night’s preseason finale against the New England Patriots. The Jets are reportedly also concerned that Sanchez could remain out of action beyond Week 1, since he has yet to throw a pass.
It could be a big setback for Sanchez who had been caught up in a quarterback battle with first-rounder Geno Smith for the starting job during the Jets’ training camp. But so far, Sanchez appeared the better out of the two quarterbacks. Smith had an up-and-down preseason, following an impressive first week performance with an absence against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to an injury, and finally struggling through the third exhibition game against the Giants last Saturday night. He did not play against the Eagles since the Jets’ did not want to risk an injury to another one of their quarterbacks.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has already been heavily criticized for his decision to play Sanchez in the fourth-quarter of last week’s game – especially considering the veteran quarterback was playing with the Jets’ backups.
“It was very unfortunate that Mark was injured,” Ryan said after the game. “When we had a chance to put Mark in, I wanted to play Mark. It’s my decision. [...] I understand being second-guessed when an injury happens, but that’s football.”
While Ryan said earlier this week that the decision on the starting quarterback could be held out leading right up to the season opener, Sanchez’s injury leaves the door open for Smith to earn the job by default. If Smith can lead the Jets past potential catastrophe against the Buccaneers, he could possibly make another case for the starting job.