Those around the New York Jets seem convinced the decision to start Geno Smith in Saturday night's preseason game against the New York Giants is a sign the team is not at all interested in starting Mark Sanchez come the beginning of the regular season.
Smith has been limited so far this preseason due to an ankle injury, taking just 14 snaps in live preseason games. And yet, the team is putting him in the No. 1 role against the Giants' Saturday night, asking the second-round pick to perform against legitimate NFL starters -- and keeping Mark Sanchez from the valuable first-team snaps necessary to build rapport with first-teamers should he to be asked to start.
Although the Jets haven't named a starter, the way they're handling Smith leads many to believe the role is his to lose. Manish Mehta of the Daily News wrote the organization is pulling for Smith over Sanchez, calling the competition between the two "a charade."
The Jets' farcical quarterback competition will conclude Saturday night with rookie Geno Smith needing two turnover-free quarters to secure a job that many people in the organization want him to win.
Mehta said all Smith has to do in order to win the starting gig is remain healthy and be relatively safe with the ball.
Rich Cimini of ESPN had a similar take, saying the team is "desperate" to start Smith:
Truth be told, they've been all-in with Smith for the entire week, giving him first-team reps each day. If a stranger parachuted into practice, he'd have assumed Smith is the permanent starter.
What the Jets are really saying is they're desperate to put Sanchez on the bench. Isn't it interesting that owner Woody Johnson tweeted a photo of Smith in Thursday's practice? The tweet said: "Working hard for Saturday."
Both argue Smith might not necessarily be ready for the role, given his lack of opportunity in his first-ever NFL training camp and preseason. But the other option is Sanchez, and it seems those around the organization seem to have had enough of the fifth-year signal-caller.