The bad news, of course, is that this qualifies as good news on May 22.
Sanchez and Smith began their competition for the starting quarterback job on Wednesday, and to say neither distinguished himself would be a charitable characterization indeed.
Sanchez, whose days in a Jets uniform are numbered after he committed 52 turnovers the last two years, threw three interceptions in 11 attempts as the first-team quarterback Wednesday. Sanchez was picked off by cornerback Antonio Cromartie, safety Jaiquawn Jarrett and lineman Damon Harrison.
"It's a good thing the defense made some plays, but no, I'd rather him not turn the ball over once, obviously," head coach Rex Ryan said. "It's funny because you can look at the practice, he did a lot of great things, and then those negative things, but at the end of the day, that's what gets you beat."
The Jets are 14-17 in Sanchez's 31 starts the last two years, including 6-12 in his last 18 outings.
"We have to do a better job of eliminating those turnovers," Ryan said. "We have to protect the football."
Smith wasn't much better, but at least he only threw one pick while running the second team and at least he has the excuse of being a rookie.
Had Ryan been told two weeks ago that Sanchez and Smith would get off to such inauspicious starts, he likely would have consoled himself with the knowledge that the unspectacular but reliable David Garrard would be there as a fallback option to serve as a stopgap starter.
But Garrard announced May 15 that he was retiring due to chronic knee issues, though Ryan didn't comment specifically on Garrard on Wednesday because his retirement paperwork hadn't been completed.
"The good thing, I think, about the timing of this (retirement) was the fact that it happened early enough where the reps are dispersed between two guys, where maybe it might have been dispersed differently," Ryan said.
That seemed like a pretty good alternative on Wednesday.
Technically, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith aren't the Jets' only options at quarterback, But the usage of Greg McElroy and Matt Simms on Wednesday—as well as Ryan's comments about the quarterback competition—made it clear they're afterthoughts.
McElroy, who started in place of Sanchez against San Diego last Dec. 23, got just one rep during 11-on-11 drills, one fewer than Simms, who has yet to take an NFL regular-season snap. McElroy and Simms each got two snaps during 7-on-7 drills.
And while Ryan gave lip service to the idea of a wide-open quarterback competition, he didn't speak of McElroy or Simms when discussing how Garrard's retirement would impact the distribution of reps.
On Tuesday, Jets Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Namath told the New York Daily News he was rooting for Sanchez.
"I am pulling for him," Namath said of Sanchez. "I know that he can do better than he's done. And we saw him lead a team to two AFC Championship Games, right? 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."
Smith is going with Jay-Z's new Roc Nation Sports to represent him, he announced after Wednesday's practice.
Smith's contract agent will be Kimberly Miale, who is considered relatively inexperienced.
Asked whether he was attracted to the Roc Nation by Jay-Z, Smith said, "Not that big of a role. It's just the agency. When you're talking about being in New York from the standpoint of what they can do through the city, all the connections they have, I think it's a good move.
"My mother and my family is comfortable with it, I'm comfortable with it. I'm just going to move on from there, not let it be a big deal, remain humble and keep focusing on football."
Smith fired his agency, Select Sports, after he was picked in the second round of the draft. He interviewed several other agencies before settling on Roc Sports.
"The only thing that's important to me is the image status perceived around this locker room," he said. "The guy I am to my teammates and my coaches, the work I put in on the football field. I'm all about football, I'm all about getting better. That's the one thing I have to focus on, and that's better myself daily, better myself to be there when the time comes."
As far as the perception that Smith might be more interested in his image, he said, "I don't worry about the outside world's perception when it comes to that type of stuff. I'm comfortable with who I am, strong in my faith, I know this isn't because of an image thing or trying to market myself. It's just about being comfortable with the guys who are going to represent me. That's ultimately why I made that decision."
Garrard wasn't the only one of John Idzik's impact free-agent signings who wasn't on the field Wednesday.
Running back Mike Goodson, who signed a three-year, $6.9 million deal in March, instead appeared in court in Morristown—just 15 minutes from the Jets' facility in Florham Park—to plead not guilty to a litany of gun and drug charges stemming from a traffic incident last Friday morning.
Goodson, who is free on $50,000 bail, was the passenger in a car that was stopped along I-80 in Denville. The driver, Garant Evans, allowed the car to be searched and police found a bag of marijuana in Goodson's pocket as well as other drug paraphernalia and a loaded gun in the car.
Goodson was also intoxicated and had to be hospitalized for a few hours after his arrest. Per an affidavit obtained by USA Today on Wednesday, Goodson "was incoherent, slobbering and had vomited all over himself as well as the interior of the vehicle."
Jets owner Woody Johnson said during the NFL league meetings in Boston on Tuesday that Goodson met with Idzik earlier Tuesday and that the Jets are "at a point of investigating the facts."
Head coach Rex Ryan made it clear Wednesday he didn't want to discuss anything about Goodson.
"The organization has already issued a statement on Mike, so I will just leave it at that," Ryan said, referring to an 11-word statement issued Friday.
Goodson was penciled in as the starter upon signing his deal, though the acquisition of Chris Ivory during the draft likely nudged Goodson back into a change-of-pace role.
Jets wide receivers began 2013 like they ended 2012: Injured.
Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, who are expected to be two of the Jets' top three receivers, didn't practice Wednesday as they continued to recover from the injuries they suffered last year.
Holmes, who underwent two surgeries to repair the Lisfranc fracture he suffered last Sept. 30, was expected to miss practice. Ryan said Holmes probably won't be ready to participate in the Jets' minicamp in June.
Hill's absence was the more concerning one. The second-year receiver, who underwent arthroscopic surgery after hurting his right knee against the Jaguars on Dec. 9, said he was fully recovered earlier this month, but sat out Wednesday with swelling in the knee.
Clyde Gates, who missed a handful of games last season due to a concussion, also sat out Wednesday with a hamstring injury while Jordan White, who barely played as a rookie after an injury-plagued collegiate career, was sidelined with an undisclosed ailment.
"We had a good-looking receiving corps that wasn't out there today. It's similar to the issues we had last year. It's about half of what we had last year, when we only had three receivers."- Coach Rex Ryan on receivers absent from OTAs.
A closer look at the Jets' picks:
Round 1/9 - Dee Milliner, CB, 6-0, 201, Alabama
Milliner was one of the most decorated cornerbacks in the draft, as well as perhaps its most banged-up. He's already had five surgeries, including a recent shoulder operation to repair a torn labrum, but the Jets are confident in his medical records and believe he can perform in the NFL as he did at Alabama, where he led the nation with 21 pass breakups last year. Not drafted to replace Darrelle Revis, but will likely anchor the secondary for years to come.
Round 1/13 - Sheldon Richardson, DT, 6-3, 294, Missouri
Viewed as a bit of a reach by many draftniks, but Richardson fills a glaring need for a team that lost its two starting nose tackles and whose rush defense fell to 26th in the NFL last season. Richardson only played two years at Missouri but led the SEC with 75 tackles last year and recorded 30 tackles on third or fourth down.
Round 2/39—Geno Smith, QB, 6-3, 218, West Virginia
One way or the other, he'll likely be the defining pick of the John Idzik Era. Jets were thrilled he fell from a potential No. 1 overall pick all the way into their laps in the second round, but is it a good idea to draft a quarterback when the head coach is very likely entering a lame-duck season? Smith's struggles in the second half of his senior season - and in the wintry conditions of the Pinstripe Bowl, located just a few miles from MetLife Stadium - are cause for concern, but his upside was too good to pass up. May not be an immediate starter, but Mark Sanchez's days in green and white are surely numbered.
Round 3/72 - Brian Winters, G, 6-4, 320, Kent State
Another pick who will contribute right away. Winters played left tackle at Kent State but is expected to move to guard for the Jets, who lost guards Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore via free agency. A tough (he was a wrestler in high school) and experienced (50 starts in college) player, Winters should fit right in with the Jets' lunch-pail offensive line.
Round 5/141 - Oday Aboushi, T, 6-6, 308, Virginia
Aboushi, a Brooklyn native, is more of a project, especially with Austin Howard ahead of him on the depth chart. Like Winters, he played guard at the Senior Bowl and could end up becoming a versatile utilityman along the line.
Round 6/178 - William Campbell, DT, 6-5, 311, Michigan
Yet another player who will switch positions as a pro. Campbell played in 51 straight games, mostly at defensive tackle, for the Wolverines but is expected to move to the offensive line. He's more of a long-term project than Aboushi and may not see much action as a rookie.
Round 7/215 - Tommy Bohanon, RB, 6-1 246, Wake Forest
Bohanon was a do-everything type at Wake Forest who played four years of special teams and has experience at both tight end and H-back, so he has the potential to be a useful late-round find. With Lex Hilliard atop the depth chart at fullback, Bohanon should have a chance to compete for the starting job immediately.
WR Braylon Edwards made an unlikely return to the Jets after he was cut by the Seahawks last December and became an unlikely contributor with 10 catches in the final three games. Of course, he was a contributor solely because the Jets had the worst wide receiver corps in the league. Edwards is clearly on the downside at 30, and the fact that new Jets GM John Idzik was with the Seahawks last year surely doesn't help his chances of returning.
G Brandon Moore is one of the Jets' two longest-tenured players and he showed no signs of slowing down in his 11th season and would likely be welcomed back. He did appear worn out by the constant drama surrounding the Jets, though, and could seek a deal with a contender.
WR Chaz Schilens played in 15 games, his most since his rookie year in 2008, but Schilens proved to be nothing more than a replacement-level talent. Won't likely be pursued by Idzik and might have a hard time finding a deal anywhere.
LB Bryan Thomas is the lone remaining signee from 2002. He fared pretty well as a rotational player before suffering a torn pectoral muscle in December. That's just the latest injury in a litany of ailments suffered by Thomas over the years and more proof there's little left in the tank. His chances of returning may have further diminished when it was revealed he was arrested on domestic violence and drug possession charges in October.
(not tendered offers)
TE Dedrick Epps (not tendered as ERFA).
G Brian Winters (3/72): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
T Oday Aboushi (5/141): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
G Will Campbell (6/178): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
FB Tommy Bohanonn (7/215): 4 yrs, terms unknown.
TE Jeff Cumberland: RFA tendered at $1.323M with no compensation; $1.323M/1 yr.
K Nick Folk: UFA; $780,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB.
RB Lex Hilliard: UFA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
T Austin Howard: RFA tendered at $2.023M with second-round pick as compensation); terms unknown.
LB Josh Mauga: Potential RFA; terms unknown.
LB Calvin Pace: FA, had been released by Jets; 1 yr, terms unknown.
LS Tanner Purdum: Not tendered as RFA; 2 yrs, terms unknown.
LB Antwan Barnes: UFA Chargers; $4M/3 yrs, $900,000 SB.
G Willie Colon: FA Steelers; $1.2M/1 yr.
NT Antonio Garay: FA Chargers; 1 yr, terms unknown.
QB David Garrard: FA; 1 yr, terms unknown.
RB Mike Goodson: UFA Raiders; $6.9M/3 yrs.
RB Chris Ivory (trade Saints).
S Jaiquawn Jarrett: FA; terms unknown.
S Dawan Landry: FA Jaguars; terms unknown.
G Stephen Peterman: FA Lions; terms unknown.
FB/TE Josh Baker (released).
S Yeremiah Bell: UFA Cardinals; 1 yr, $905,000/1 yr, $65,000 SB.
DE Mike DeVito: UFA Chiefs; $12.6M/3 yrs, $6.2M guaranteed.
RB Shonn Greene: UFA Titans; $10M/3 yrs, $2.5M guaranteed.
TE Dustin Keller: UFA Dolphins; $4.25M/1 yr, $2.25M guaranteed.
S LaRon Landry: UFA Colts; $24M/4 yrs, $14M guaranteed.
NT Sione Po'uha (released).
CB Darrelle Revis (traded Buccaneers).
LB Bart Scott (released).
G Matt Slauson: UFA Jets; $815,000/1 yr, $100,000 SB/$200,000 guaranteed.
S Eric Smith (released).
T Jason Smith (released).
QB Tim Tebow (released).