The quarterback competition in the land of the Jets remains muddled, even as rookie Geno Smith appears to have recovered from his recent ankle injury.
Even a strong day of practice from Mark Sanchez on Monday failed to erase the up-and-down performance he produced on Saturday night.
Smith practiced for the first time in four days on Monday, showing decent mobility and taking reps with the first team. The rookie out of West Virginia missed a portion of last week’s practices due to the ankle injury he suffered Aug. 10 in the preseason-opening loss at Detroit. He was a scratch in Saturday’s preseason win over the Jaguars.
Smith is heading into Saturday’s game at the Giants planning to play and have a chance to stake his claim for the starting spot ahead of the incumbent Sanchez.
“[I am] extremely anxious [to play]. Sitting on the sideline was probably one of the hardest things I had to endure since I’ve been here,” Smith said. “[I] never expected being out for a game, let alone [the] second preseason game. But to be out there this week is going to be big for me. [I] get another chance to go out and prove myself.”
The Jets’ second-round pick faces competition from a quarterback in Sanchez who experienced incredible highs on Saturday night, including an opening drive where he completed his first three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, and the most inept of lows. The fifth-year starter appears to have grown comfortable in the West Coast offense but struggles to overcome his own mental shortcomings.
After two scoring drives to start the game, Sanchez threw a red-zone interception and had a sequence late in the first half where he squandered outstanding field position and failed to get any points with the ball on the 6-yard line and six seconds left in the second quarter.
Sanchez is his own worst enemy and after a strong start to the last preseason game, he failed to win the quarterback competition outright with his main rival sidelined due to injury.
“I feel good about where I’m at,” Sanchez said. “I think I put together a good camp and I’m only improving. So [I will] just keep putting my best foot forward, keep playing my best football and leave it up to the coaches.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.