Oct 21, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) walks off the field during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez?
With David Garrard calling it quits, the Jets QB competition is now narrowed down to the incumbent, Mark Sanchez, and the rookie, Geno Smith.
"“This will be a bona fide quarterback competition. Period.” – Jets Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg"
The long overdue release of Tim Tebow makes the traveling circus that is the New York Jets, well, less of a circus. If Gang Green wants to get back on track and give their fans some sort of hope, they have to be more successful at throwing the ball down field rather than relying solely on the “ground and pound” game frequently used during Rex Ryan’s tenure.
Can Geno win the starting job over an established veteran and the incumbent?
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
When it comes to the QB competition in 2013, the west coast system new Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg plans to implement does not give Smith the advantage with a veteran like Sanchez also vying for the top QB spot. Experience and a fact-paced NFL tempo are extremely important in that system. Unfortunately for Smith, rookies have neither entering the league.
Luckily for Smith, Sanchez has not run a west coast style offense, but does have the experience factor. Additionally, in comparison to other rookie QBs, Smith did run a fast-paced spread offense at West Virginia. He the transition is not too difficult for Smith to comprehend, he could very well have the upper hand come Week 1.
The best news for Smith is that Mornhinweg has a history of success at developing QBs in his system, which will ultimately help him in the long-run. Many critics of Smith think he should sit for a year or two before he gets thrown into the fire. Surprisingly, the Jets are an ideal situation for that. Currently, the expectations are low for the Jets, especially in regards to the QB position. Smith can sit on the bench, learn from Mornhinweg, and develop as a young QB.
Most importantly, if the Jets have learned anything from Sanchez, they shouldn’t throw a rookie QB right out there. It’s just too much, especially in this team’s state ad in a market like New York.
The bench and whiteboard is a good spot for Smith in 2013. He will surely get his chance at some point, and I’d even put my money on him starting by season’s end. But, he shouldn’t get the keys just yet.
Is this the end of the road for Mark Sanchez in New York?
Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
In four seasons, Sanchez boasts a 4-2 playoff record and has taken the Jets to two AFC title games. However, 2011 and 2012’s trough are more telling than the highest peaks in 2009 and 2010 for the troubled QB. There have been plenty of instances like the butt-fumble on Thanksgiving in 2012 and the drama-filled collapse in the final game of the season against the Dolphins in 2011.
Though Sanchez and Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes haven’t always had a great relationship, they have experience playing with one another. Additionally, the Jets return Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley. Hill and Kerley’s potential have yet to be reached, and they have spent their early careers building chemistry with Sanchez. Though Smith can come in and start working with the top three wide-outs to build a relationship, Sanchez’s experience with them has to count for something.
The biggest knock against Sanchez is in inability to lead. He’s built his name as a “game manager,” and has even been unsuccessful in that regard during the 2012 season. To have a chance in a west coast offense, Sanchez has to really show his previous potential and lose the game manager title.
Most importantly for Sanchez, he knows it’s now or never. He’s been the starting QB for a NY team for four years now, and while that position holds plenty of pressure, he now can finally feel the pressure that’s needed to get results. For the first time, he has a short enough leash with known repercussions if he were to fail again. Tim Tebow is not waiting in the wing anymore. Now, it’s young Geno Smith who can very easily take over the team and leave Sanchez in the dust. In the last year of guaranteed money in his contract, Sanchez is in a show up or shut up situation. Maybe that’s just the spark Sanchez needs to finally realize his potential…or some of it at least.
At the end of day, Ryan, Mornhinweg, and the rest of the Jets coaching staff will pick the QB that gives them the best chance to win. At this point, Sanchez is that guy.
Can the Jets actually improve their record and compete in the AFC East in 2013? It all starts at the QB position.
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