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Jets Quarterback Fiasco Worsens With Sanchez Injury

Russell Simon |
August 27, 2013 | 10:48 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Mark Sanchez, now injured, is stuck in a messy quarterback fiasco. (Steve Chott/Creative Commons)
Mark Sanchez, now injured, is stuck in a messy quarterback fiasco. (Steve Chott/Creative Commons)
For most NFL teams, the preseason is a time of unbounded optimism. It is a time when Raider fans can psyche themselves into believing that Terrelle Pryor can be a dominant NFL quarterback. It is a time when Jaguars fans - all three of them - can feel good about the performance of Blaine Gabbert, who went 13-16 for 167 yards two weeks ago. For most teams, it’s easy to feel confident heading into the year.

Most teams are not the New York Jets. Saturday night's Hindenburg of a preseason game made that clear.

What is not clear is the Jets' quarterback fiasco - calling it a competition would be an insult to the word). In a game the Jets actually won 24-21 over the Giants, it is impossible to pick one low point for Gang Green at quarterback. But we should start with the play of the supposed franchise savior (ha!) Geno Smith. Smith, in his first real opportunity to cement his role as starting quarterback after missing last week's game against the Jaguars with an ankle injury, threw three picks. The first pick was thrown way behind open wide out Ryan Spadola, the second was thrown five yards over the head of picked-up-off-the-scrap-heap tight end Kellen Winsolow and the third was thrown directly to Justin Tuck. He also accidentally ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety while trying to complete a pass in the fourth quarter with the Jets up 14-13. His performance was one of a rookie who was totally not ready to be a starting QB in the NFL.

Unfortunately, the Jets' other signal caller in this sad "competition", one who is now in his fifth year in the NFL, may be even worse.

With only six passes, Mark Sanchez made it clear for the umpteenth time that he should not be the starting quarterback for this team, or any team. Sanchez executed one of his signature plays in the fourth quarter at MetLife, when he fumbled a snap while in the shotgun leading to a recovery by Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich. It was a flashback to Week 15 of last season, when he did the exact same thing to effectively end the Jets' season while they were deep in Titan territory late in the game, needing a touchdown to win. It’s not on the same level as the Butt Fumble, but this mistake demonstrates yet again why so many clamored for Smith to be the starter, despite the rookie's blatant holes and total lack of experience.

SEE MORE: Super Bowl XLVI: A Jets Fan’s Guide To Survival 

It may be Smith's job now. With Sanchez playing behind the backup offensive line late in the game, he was hit hard on his right shoulder by Giants defensive end Marvin Austin. He headed to the locker room early with ice on his shoulder, and he has already been declared out with a bruised should joint for the Jets' final tune up to the regular season.

This final wrinkle in the Jets' ongoing quarterback disaster means that Rex Ryan's club has no clue who will take the field at quarterback Week 1 against Tampa Bay. So far, Ryan is handling this dilemma well.

In his postgame press conference, Ryan was asked if it was reckless to put the potential starting QB behind the backup offensive line late in a meaningless game. Ryan exploded, "I don't have to answer a question. I'll answer it the way I said. And from Day 1, I said we'll make the announcement of a starting quarterback when we think it’s the appropriate time." 

Ryan then added this gem, "I can say anything I want. That's the beauty of this country, " before turning his back to the press in order to hammer home his point.

If Rex is this stressed now, who knows what he will be like in December, if he even makes it that far? He’s the captain of a ship that is practically sunk while it's still anchored to the port. The season has not even started and already the Jets have traded one of the best players in franchise history in Darrelle Revis, have had to watch Sanchez parade naked around a Napa Valley estate like an imbecile and have basically gutted the team of talent. Has there ever been a worse preseason, for any team, ever?

The Jets' circus will only grow from here as the regular season gets underway. But the Big Top will be closing up soon, and Ryan and Sanchez will go with it.


Reach Staff Writer Russell Simon via e-mail.   



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