Since being drafted with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Mark Sanchez has entered every season as the Jets starting quarterback. That four-year streak may be in danger, as head coach Rex Ryan hints at a looming competition for the position of starting signal-caller.
"Bringing in competition at every position, not just the quarterback position," said Ryan in a press conference Thursday. "So to say Mark Sanchez or this quarterback or that quarterback, I think there's clearly going to be competition."
Ryan's comments followed words from Jets GM John Idzik, who called for a marked improvement on the offense's 2012 performance. "We're going to increase the competition so that he (Sanchez) plays better," Idzik said. "We've got a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback coach. That will be healthy."
Idzik, who himself is in his first year as general manager, hired former Detroit Lions head coach Marty Mornhinweg to run the offense and David Lee to coach the quarterbacks. This new regime has little invested in Sanchez, though Idzik must pay Sanchez the $8.25 million guaranteed in his contract whether he starts or not.
The Jets in-house options to compete with Sanchez are Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy, with the latter having replaced a healthy Sanchez in Week 16. Tebow's odds to break camp with the Jets are slim and McElroy has yet to display enough talent to supplant Sanchez, so New York may look elsewhere to make for a spirited competition.
Matt Moore, Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer lead a thin quarterback free-agent pool, while guys like Matt Flynn and Alex Smith are long shots to end up on Gang Green. Despite the obvious vote of no confidence from management, the Jets may well be on their way to Year Five of The Sanchez Era.