Jets want Geno Smith to win quarterback job; Sanchez's departure from NY looms

Jets want Geno Smith to win QB job; Sanchez likely gone by Week 1

5/13/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Mark Sanchez's career with the New York Jets has been interesting, to say the least. After being drafted fifth overall in 2009, Jets fans expected "The Sanchize" to be the savior of their organization. While he didn't put up the best numbers, Sanchez lived up to his lofty expectations by leading his team to two consecutive AFC Championship games in his first two seasons. He had his best statistical season in 2011, though the Jets barely missed out on the playoffs, but it all fell apart 2012 for the former USC Trojan. Sanchez was horrible, posting a 66.9 quarterback rating - the worst on his team (Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and receiver Jeremy Kerley - who threw one pass - all had better ratings).
Blog Photo - Jets want Geno Smith to win quarterback job; Sanchez's departure from NY looms
It was no surprise when the Jets promptly took advantage of the opportunity to draft West Virginia's Geno Smith - widely regarded as the top draft eligible quarterback - in the second round of the draft a few weeks ago. Now the Jets will be forced to make a difficult decision: should they throw their rookie into the fire, or should they allow Smith develop behind a veteran until they feel he is ready to be a starting quarterback?

What the Jets would like is for Smith to prove during the preseason that he is ready to take on the starting gig right out of the gate. Brian Costello of the New York Post reported Monday that there's a "sense around the Jets that they want Smith to win (the starting job)." The rookie signal caller reportedly looked great during rookie minicamp, and "held players' only meetings at the team hotel." Holding meetings is great to see from Smith, as there were some serious questions regarding his commitment and leadership.

If Smith could win the job, that would allow the Jets to search for a trade partner who would take Sanchez. No one would be willing to pay Sanchez's fully guaranteed $8.25 million 2013 salary, but if the Jets could get any of that money off their books, they would jump at the opportunity. If they can not find a trade partner, there is speculation that the Jets would bite the bullet and release Sanchez outright.

The biggest concern in starting Smith from Week 1 is that he will find it very difficult to succeed considering the Jets' offensive pieces, and they may be better suited to save Smith until they can put him in a better situation. What makes this more important is that Smith appears to have a fragile ego - the projected first-round pick wanted to go home after he wasn't selected on the first day of the draft. By putting Smith out there with the likes of Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, and Jeff Cumberland as his primary "weapons," he's likely to struggle, which could cripple the 22-year-old's confidence.

Another option for the Jets could be to get rid of Sanchez and let Smith hold the clipboard behind veteran David Garrard. Though he hasn't appeared in a game since 2010, Garrard could provide better immediate production while also being a stopgap at quarterback until the Jets feel comfortable with Smith behind center.

It looks like any of these quarterbacks could end up starting Week 1, but a lot of it will depend on Smith's preseason progress and how sharp Garrard looks. If Smith can't quickly adjust to the NFL game, and Garrard looks like a quarterback who hasn't played in over two years, then Sanchez could end up as the starter once again. However, it currently seems very likely that the Jets will find a way to convince themselves that either Smith or Garrard should start, and send Sanchez somewhere else, whether it be to another team or the streets.
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