Smith struggles, Sanchez injured in muddled Jets QB battle

 

Despite a poor showing by rookie Geno Smith, the Jets quarterback competition shows no signs of ending thanks to head coach Rex Ryan’s decision to put Mark Sanchez into the game in the fourth quarter behind a makeshift offensive line.

Sanchez was injured on his second drive in the Jets’ 24-21 win over the Giants.

Smith, who was 16-of-30 for 199 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions, looked every bit a rookie making his first preseason start. Smith played into the fourth quarter before making way for Sanchez, who appeared surprised to be entering the game after he started the last two preseason games.

His first drive ended in a fumble off a snap and on the second play of the next drive, he was hammered to the turf by Giants defensive lineman Marvin Austin following a long completion. He was taken off the field and his right shoulder was iced before heading under the stadium to get X-rays. He will undergo an MRI on Sunday.

“Obviously we talked about the competition and that was something that I felt was important,” Ryan said. “If it wasn’t important, I wouldn’t have put him in there. I would not have put Mark in if it wasn’t important.”

Ryan wouldn’t say Saturday’s performance by Smith or Sanchez answered the questions surrounding the quarterback competition, especially after the first two preseason games did little to sort out the issue.

“At the appropriate time we’ll make the announcement,” Ryan said, emphatically countering the questions posed by reporters. “When I think it is the appropriate time.”

Smith and the incumbent Sanchez, once deemed by the Jets fans faithful as the “Sanchise,” have been locked in a quarterback competition since the Jets took Smith in the second round of this past April’s NFL Draft.

Heading into their fourth preseason game, the Jets won’t admit to any pressure in naming a starter, no matter how bad Smith played.

“Well, as long as Rex and the committee are evaluating us, I think I have a shot,” Smith said. “As I’ve stated, I don’t think one game, one practice, one day will tell you the type of quarterback I am. I think it takes a ton of evaluation to get this thing done. It’s not just about myself, it’s about this team progressing and all of us getting better and that’s something we’re doing.”

Even if it didn’t look like it Saturday night.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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