The New York Jets' Quarterback Competition: A Roundtable Discussion with Turn on the Jets

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Dec 30, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) drops to pass as Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (94) rushes during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Jets 28-9. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets’ quarterback competition is, and will be, one of the biggest stories of training camp, if not the biggest. Can Mark Sanchez hold the fort and get one more chance? Will the future be now, with Geno Smith winning the job? What about the talented veteran, David Garrard? The others? There is a lot to discuss on each of these candidates.

So, we bring you a special post today. We reached out to our friends at another top Jets’ blog, Turn On the Jets, and invited them to join us in a roundtable discussion about the competition.  They do many roundtables as well, so Joe Caporoso, editor in chief of Turn on the Jets, graciously agreed.

Without further adieu, we present our joint roundtable.  It will alternate between Jet Press staff, and Turn on the Jets staff for as long as we can alternate.  We will let the visiting team go first, a la baseball:

Joe Caporoso I am looking back towards how the quarterback competition played out in Seattle last summer between Tavaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson. Despite a part of me thinking that Mark Sanchez will pick up Marty Mornhinweg’s offense and play well enough this summer to win the job, I currently feel more comfortable betting against him than betting on him like I did last year. So here is what I think happens, we see Sanchez filling the Jackson role, Garrard filling the Flynn role and Smith filling the Wilson role (not saying he will perform as well as he did his rookie year though).

Idzik, Mornhinweg and every other new person in this organization has no ties to Sanchez and had a hand in bringing Garrard and Smith to the team. If a perfect world, the Jets want to see Smith seize the job and Garrard fill in as a veteran backup and mentor to their young quarterback. It is going to take a stellar summer from Sanchez, an injury to Garrard or a disappointing summer from Smith to prevent the opening day depth chart from not being to Smith-Garrard-Greg McElroy.

Yes, I am saying I think Mark Sanchez will be on the team through July and into early August while the Jets quietly look to trade him and then eventually cut ties with him if they can’t find a partner by mid to late August. Smith should be able to be competent enough for the Jets to hand the reigns to him from week 1 or at least have confidence that he can take the job from Garrard by mid-season. Rex Ryan will have no hesitation to start a rookie since he went to the AFC Championship Game with a rookie under center.

The Jets have put together a deep group of running backs behind a strong run blocking offensive line. You know they are going to play good defense. They won’t put too much on Smith’s plate early and I think he impresses enough to start day one. If he doesn’t, Garrard (IF healthy) will begin the year but likely eventually give the job over to Smith.

Alan Schechter:
Anybody who reads my work knows that I, like Sydney, am a huge Sanchez supporter.  That being said, I realize that finally, we are going to have a competition where he is not going to be handed the job.  He is going to have to work for it this time.

This competition is going to be a three-man race, between Sanchez, David Garrard, and Geno Smith.  Matt Simms will not be involved, he is around because of his last name more than anything else.  I also believe Greg McElroy will not be a factor, because if the Jets felt that he was the quarterback of the future, they never would have chosen Geno Smith.  So the choice will be down to three very quickly.

With Mark Sanchez, you know what you have.  You have a guy that has his excellent moments, but struggles with accuracy and decision-making.  You don’t know what Geno Smith is going to be at the pro level, especially right away.  There is going to be a learning curve, no matter what the expectation is.  And Garrard?  Garrard is a talented quarterback, but the question will be how much he has left.  He has not taken a regular season snap since 2010, and we will all see soon enough, how much he has left.

The result?  As much as Jets fans don’t want to hear it, Mark Sanchez will win the job.  Geno Smith will not be ready, and the Jets are not going to force him into the role.  Could he be starting by mid-season?  Very possible.  But they are going to let him get his feet wet, as the Giants did with Eli Manning during his rookie year.

I just don’t believe David Garrard will show enough to beat out Mark Sanchez.  Sorry, Jets fans.

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