Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
According to Green Zone Radio, Jets West occurs this week out in sunny California. For those that don’t know Jets West is a week-long practice session doubling as a team bonding experience run each year by Mark Sanchez. Mark organizes the event making it as close to an actual offensive practice with on-field work as well as classroom study to learn the new offense. Each night the players get together for group activities to better bond as a team. There are no media or fans allowed as the Sanchez family pay for security to keep it players only.
The big story is whether or not quarterback Geno Smith will attend. In the past whether or not it was a rival in Tebow or a mentor like Brunell the backup quarterback attended the camp. When asked if Smith was invited Sanchez said that all offensive skill position players were invited. Smith’s answers were a bit more cryptic. During OTAs when he was first asked about attending the camp Smith said “no comment”. The next day he said he didn’t know what Jets West was and that he would go if asked. Then when Sanchez was asked if he invited Smith Sanchez once again repeated that all offensive skill position players were invited. After mandatory mini camp was over Smith said he did not know yet if he would attend and it would depend if he was invited or not.
Semantics aside Smith needs to attend the camp. He needs as many reps in the new offense as possible as well as practice with the verbiage and time to watch film. He needs to be able to build a rapport with the receivers who will attend like Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley on and off of the field. Smith will also take a hit publicly if he doesn’t attend because it is clear that he is welcome there even if Sanchez hasn’t rolled out the red carpet for him.
This is an important week as it is the last week that the players will be able to workout together without the coaches. It is a time to build confidence and momentum for the long grind of the season. For Sanchez it is his last chance to salvage his career with the Jets. For Smith it is time to learn and to prove to himself that he not only belongs but deserves to be the man. Only time will tell which one starts but the summer competition begins anew here.