The New York Jets quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith got off to a rocky start on Friday when Sanchez tossed a pick-six to Detroit Lions first-round defensive end Ziggy Ansah on the team's fourth offensive play of the preseason.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan will be involved in selecting the team's starting quarterback this season. After the game, Ryan was asked about Sanchez's interception and the head coach, who is squarely on the hot seat, admitted he didn't see it happen live.
"I think, obviously, the interception, I never saw it, I just caught the tail end of it, when the kid was running in for a touchdown," Ryan said.
Considering how anything involving the Jets immediately turns into a circus, Ryan's admission last night has raised some eyebrows on Saturday morning.
However, Ryan has always been more involved on the defensive side of the ball. The Jets defense had wrapped up their first series of the preseason and it's not unreasonable for Ryan to have missed a few offensive plays while he was going over something he saw with the first-team defense.
Other head coaches, including New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, frequently visit the bench area to "coach up" a player or unit while the game is going on, so it's a bit of an overreaction to criticize Ryan for missing one play. Besides, Sanchez's pick-six was captured on tape, which Ryan, general manager John Idzik and everyone else involved in the Jets' decision-making process will review before naming a starting quarterback.
Ryan did catch the rest of Sanchez's night, which saw the 2009 first-round pick complete 10-of-13 pass attempts for 125 yards and a 26-yard touchdown to tight end Jeff Cumberland before giving way to Smith.
"Obviously, we can’t have that," Ryan said of the interception. "But yeah, he made some nice throws, he made some throws under pressure, which was good to see. We could have done without the pressure, but the fact that he stood in there, made some nice throws, and then led our team down the field, scored a touchdown. I think that was encouraging about Sanchez."