A “brutal” day of training camp underscored the fact Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith still has a long way to go to wrestle away the starting job from incumbent Mark Sanchez.
After the Jets took Smith in the second round of this past April’s NFL Draft, it was assumed he had the inside track on becoming starter. But a relatively solid first preseason game from Sanchez and a quiet one — most notable for a twisted ankle — from the rookie was backed up by a Wednesday practice where Smith looked anything but ready to start.
It was so bad it earned criticism from his head coach.
“It was brutal; that was Geno’s worst day. Obviously the ankle [injury] is part of it. [He threw] way too many picks and things. [He] did not look comfortable today,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “Obviously he has to come back from it. He will come back from it but it was a bad day. We’ve seen it, guys have bad days, but this was a really bad day for Geno.”
During much of the offseason, Smith showed flashes of promise, while at times he also showed he is still very much a work in progress. He looked unsettled in the pocket, had issues with his progressions and struggled with his deep touch on downfield routes. But come training camp, he looked like a more polished player and seemed ready to take over the starting spot.
There is apparently plenty of work yet to be done, though Sanchez hasn’t fully wrested the starting job yet. Given Smith’s ankle injury in Friday night’s preseason opener, Sanchez might get another nod this weekend when the Jets host the Jaguars. Ryan was not willing to say whether Smith would even play on Saturday.
“I think there’s still work to be done. To definitively win the job, there definitely needs to be more evidence,” Ryan said. “If you want, we have to see more out of either guy, both guys. We have to see more out of both guys to have a better answer at that spot.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.