The New York Jets have not decided whether Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback this season, but it appears Smith is being given a golden opportunity to win the job.
Smith, a second-round pick this offseason, might have unseated Sanchez during the second preseason game without even playing.
Sanchez started in New York’s first two games, while Smith sat out last week due to an ankle injury he sustained during the first preseason game. In the preseason opener, Sanchez threw a careless interception to Detroit rookie defensive end Ziggy Ansah, but completed 10-of-13 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Last week, Sanchez struggled three times the red zone against Jacksonville. Once, he threw a terrible interception into the end zone on third and goal. The worst possession occurred when Sanchez decided to scramble around for several seconds and ran out the clock before halftime, which cost his team a field goal opportunity yet again. That may have sealed Sanchez’s fate.
Barring a setback with Smith’s ankle, the rookie quarterback will start against the New York Giants on Saturday, according to New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta. That is significant because the third preseason game usually indicates who will start on opening day.
Barring a setback with his ankle in next few days, I'm told Geno Smith will start vs Giants on Saturday. #nyj
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) August 20, 2013
There is no word if both quarterbacks will split time with the first team. Considering Sanchez will come off the bench after two preseason games not only indicates he has not solidified the job, but it may not be his at all. However, if Smith struggles this weekend, the Jets will face a dilemma.
Most NFL teams prefer to rest their key starters in the final preseason game, and it would be odd to continue the battle past this weekend. Smith already sustained a preseason injury and risking another injury in the final preseason game is probably not worth it. And if you are Rex Ryan, who already has an uphill battle to save his job, it is definitely not worth it.
Smith will have to prove he is safer with the ball than Sanchez, who always seems to struggle with his decision making. Sanchez fumbled 14 times last season (43 since 2009) and threw 18 interceptions (69 since 2009). If Smith doesn't mess up this weekend, he might emerge as the favorite to start ahead of Sanchez in Week 1.