By B. Spiegel

It is from a shock that Mark Sanchez is not the popular pick as starting quarterback for the New York Jets. But if a report in the New York Daily News is true, the Jets are ready to give Geno Smith the starting job.

This is not for any exceptional game play, but with the mere accomplishment of not stumbling in his next preseason game.

Late Tuesday night, Daily News Jets columnist Manish Mehta declared the basic caveat for Smith’s ascension out of Florham Park will come with the completion of “two turnover-free quarters to secure a job that many people in the organization want him to win.“

If Mehta is correct, the minimum for John Idzik and his administration is not even to see his second-round pick score in the preseason, but just stay turnover-free through a whole first three quarters of his professional career.

Mehta goes as far to call the Jets competition “farcical”, and it's hard to disagree with that statement. Many figured Geno Smith only had to stay even to be in the good graces of the Jets organization.

After all, many have soured on one-time golden boy, Mark Sanchez (aka "Sanchize"), after one terrible season. But this new standard is about as minimized as the organization can set: take the major fault of their four-playoff-game-winner and avoid it, you will get the job.

Is it wrong to go with youth and possible potential when you have lost faith in your incumbent? Many would find this fair, but the Jets have seen this all before.

Yes, it was only four years ago when the Jets moved up in the draft to take Sanchez out of USC and followed through with shoving aside their former second-round pick, Kellen Clemens, who himself came into the organization as Chad Pennington’s heir-apparent.

Let’s look at some of the quotes from Dave Hutchinson’s article on NJ.com from August 26, 2009 for comparison:

“If you look at it, it’s not a clear-cut winner statistically. But I think I’m doing the right thing for this organization.” [Rex Ryan]

“In two preseason games, Sanchez completed 6 of 14 passes for 84 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Clemens connected on 9 of 14 passes for 84 yards, one touchdown and one interception.” [Hutchinson]

“Nonetheless, some view the competition as Sanchez winning by default — a notion Ryan downplayed. Although Clemens is in his fourth year in the system, he didn’t put up much of a fight.” [Hutchinson]

Replace some names and the story could remain the same as four years ago when all assumed a false competition was enough to throw a rookie QB into the professional show. We will never know if Mark Sanchez was truly ready at that very moment, but just as much was said there to show the Jets (and the fan base) were ready to walk away from Clemens.

The impact of the qualifications set forth by the Jets today, if not strong enough to ensure the success of their next QB, could spell the end of Rex Ryan’s leadership in New York. This will lead to another unsatisfactory failure by the Jets organization, and even place Idzik’s reign as general manager into an early category of disappointment.

Should Mark Sanchez be the reason the Jets find any excuse to throw a rookie QB into the starting job when he may or may not ready yet?

Those who don’t learn from history...


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