What is being labeled as a circus is nothing more than a quarterback competition for the Jets, albeit a lackluster one at this point.
Mark Sanchez enters his fifth year in the league not solidly entrenched atop the depth chart but rather battling for his future in New York. After taking the normal amount of time away from the game this offseason to recover from the NFL season, Sanchez said he is here to not just compete but also to retain the starting role he has had since he was handed the job as a rookie in 2009.
“Absolutely, that’s where my head is at,” Sanchez said. “I’m competing to be the starter.”
After a 2012 season where he struggled in nearly all facets of the game, the pressure and attention is on Sanchez to improve this year or likely face his last year as a Jet. Last year his numbers were down dramatically as the team missed the playoffs for a second straight season.
The response came from new Jets general manager John Idzik, who brought in David Garrard this offseason as a free agent to provide depth at the position and compete for the starting spot. Despite having not played the last two years due to injuries, the New Jersey native is expected to push Sanchez.
Garrard comes into a crowded quarterback stable that includes not only Sanchez but third-year quarterback Greg McElroy, who played in two games last year including one start, and second-round draft pick Geno Smith. Given the number of quarterbacks in camp, and especially since Idzik brought in a veteran and a high draft pick onto the roster, the general consensus would hold that Sanchez is currently on the outs.
He did acknowledge that each of the five quarterbacks is vying for the starting job this year, saying, “We’re friendly about it but at the same time it’s a fierce competition.”
“It falls right in line with what John Idzik talked about – bringing in competition at every position,” Sanchez said. “But it also mirrors up with everything I’ve been about really my whole life whether in high school, college or making it to the NFL level – of competing with other players [and] earning everything you’ve received in this league; nothing is just given. You have to compete to earn it. It will be fun.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.