New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith will not play in the team's preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to his injured right ankle, the team announced two hours before kickoff.
Smith, a 2013 second-round pick out of West Virginia, is in a full-blown competition with Mark Sanchez for the starting job. Smith was the second quarterback in against the Detroit Lions last Friday night and played 14 snaps, but injured his ankle during a scramble in the opening minutes of the third quarter and was replaced by Greg McElroy.
Even though he was not 100 percent, the Jets allowed Smith to practice this week, a decision that may have negatively impacted his ability to play in Saturday night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jets head coach Rex Ryan defended the decision to not rest Smith, citing the team being in the installation phase of training cam for giving him those live reps during the team's final practices of camp.
"I certainly understand that line of questioning, but you have to also realize that we’re installing," Ryan said on Thursday. "We’re still in the install phase and putting in a brand new offensive system. So we’re still in that install phase right now and obviously with any quarterback, especially a young quarterback, we thought that he would definitely benefit from getting those reps and obviously the trainers were comfortable with him being out there and so that’s why we did it. But I think those reps are valuable, especially when you’re in the install phase."
Installation is certainly important, but it's certainly not as important as getting Smith live reps against an opposing defense. Smith will miss that valuable experience on Saturday night, making it more likely that Sanchez will be the starting quarterback when the Jets open against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 8.