Jets head coach Rex Ryan confirmed what had started to become fait accompli all week: Mark Sanchez will start Saturday night against the Jaguars in the team's second preseason game.
The Jets had originally planned to start rookie Geno Smith in the game, but an ankle injury in his first game derailed that plan.
"We made a decision [Thursday] to go with Mark Sanchez as the quarterback for this game against Jacksonville and it was based on a few factors," Ryan said. "The main factors being, obviously, Geno [Smith’s] situation [with] his ankle and also the fact that Mark has practiced well and that’s really kind of what led to our decision."
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The bigger news may be that Ryan is still unsure of whether Smith will play at all in the game, despite him practicing every day up until Thursday. He rode the stationary bike throughout the day yesterday.
"Right now I can’t really tell you if Geno will play in this game or not," Ryan said. "We’ll see how the rest of the week goes to make that decision, but that’s where we’re at."
Ryan defended his decision to allow Smith to practice throughout the week, calling it "valuable, especially when you're still in the install phase [of the offense]."
On Wednesday, Ryan slammed Smith's performance in practice. The rookie through three interceptions in 11-on-11 drills and Ryan called his day "brutal."
What was an even quarterback competition up until last week now appears to be tilting heavily in Sanchez's favor. The third preseason game, next week against the Giants, is used as a tuneup for the regular season and the players who start will usually start the regular season.
"We’ll look at [whether Smith will start against the Giants], Ryan said. "We’re not getting into the what ifs and all that stuff. We’ll address that at the appropriate time."
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.