Jets News

It’s an Open Competition for New York Jets QB, Or Is It?

By Alan Schechter
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Dec. 23, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan stands on the sidelines with quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium. Chargers won 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. These are two names that are joined together in Jets history as much as any others. I can only think of a few pairs of names that are linked together more in Jets history: Namath and Maynard, Walker and Toon, Parcells and Martin…..that’s about it. Feel free to comment about others that I am not thinking of.

Ryan and Sanchez have been joined together since their arrival in Gotham in 2009. Following in the footsteps of his previous boss, John Harbaugh, Rex hitched his wagon to a rookie quarterback. As we all know, it worked for the first two seasons, as the Jets went to 2 straight AFC title games. But, in the last two seasons, it has fallen apart. Ever since the Jets were 8-5 in 2011, Mark, and subsequently the Jets, imploded. The Jets have been 6-13 since then, and most of the world wants Mark Sanchez not only on the bench, but off the football team.

But, we know the problems there as well. There are 8.25 million problems getting Mark Sanchez moved off of this roster. We would like to believe that sports is not driven by the finances, but the fact of the matter is, a lot of the time, they are driven by finances. Like it or not, Mark Sanchez is going to be on this roster. But will he be the starter?

We have heard from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, saying that Mark Sanchez will have a little “leg up” in the competition, mainly as the incumbent, four year starter. Let’s talk about what head coach Rex Ryan had to say about the situation:

“I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favorite in my opinion,” Ryan said. “I just think it’s going to be competition from day one and obviously Sanchez will take the first snap and things but that’s all you can say. I believe Mark will play a lot better but I also believe that there’s going to be some probably stiffer competition than maybe there’s been in the past.”

Rex has said that it will be an open competition, but Mark Sanchez will get “the first snap”, with nothing else guaranteed. On it’s face, it sounds all open-minded, but is it really? Let’s look a bit closer at what has been said.

Nov 27, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg along the sidelines during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 38-20. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to have nothing to do with my feelings towards Mark Sanchez, just an honest look at what is being said.

First of all, Marty Mornhinweg said that Mark will have a leg up, because he has been the starter here for four years. In one sense that makes sense, but in another it doesn’t. With Marty coming in, the entire system is brand new. It’s brand new for everyone, including Mark Sanchez. He is going to have a new system to learn, and new weapons to work with. How can Mark Sanchez have the lead in a system that he has never run before?

Combine that with what Rex Ryan has said.

Yes, he has said that there is “no clear-cut favorite” for the position. He talked about how the performance has to be better at that position, from Mark, or whomever else.

No offense coach, but Stevie Wonder could tell us that the QB position needs to perform better. I love ya Rex, but please.

But, he also throws in the fact that Mark will take the first snap. Why? Why make that a part of the discussion, if your point is that it is going to be an open competition? If you think about it, there really is no reason to mention that, if everyone is going to have a fair shot at this position. Just leave it at there being no clear cut favorite.

No matter where you fall on the Mark Sanchez spectrum, if you look at these comments, you have to wonder. Are they in part saying the right things, but in part, laying the groundwork for reasons to have Mark play, due to his financials?

I am not saying that this is definitely what is happening. All I am saying is that if you think about it, it could be. If it is, a lot of fans will be disappointed this fall.

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