NFL training camp 2013, QB battles: Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith now co-starters

Andrew Burton

With training camps in full swing, the quarterback battles are heating up. We check in on the latest, including in New York, where there are apparently co-starters.

Several NFL teams opened training camp with a competition at quarterback. Now, more than a week into camp, a few of the competitions have begun to take shape while others are even murkier than when camp began.

The race may be the tightest in New York, where Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith were both listed as first string on the team's initial depth chart. Here's a closer look at New York's situation as well as the other QB competitions around the league.

New York Jets: Sanchez and Smith tied

The Jets' quarterback race appears to be even at the moment, at least according to New York's depth chart for its first preseason game. Sanchez and Smith are both listed as first string with no second-string quarterback. In terms of the depth chart, Sanchez and Smith are tied, but in the general sense of things, Smith is likely leading the competition.

Sanchez opened camp with the lead on the starting job and Smith has already made up that ground just a few practices into camp. As Gang Green Nation wrote, the Jets already know what they have in Sanchez. They know his strengths, they know his weaknesses. He's had many of the same issues this camp that he had last season and earlier in his career.

If Sanchez doesn't provide a considerable upgrade over Smith now, what's the point in not starting the development of the rookie quarterback earlier? Why sit Smith on the bench if he's as good, if not better than Sanchez and Sanchez isn't likely a part of the long-term future?

That doesn't mean Smith is a lock to win the competition. A lot could change in preseason games, but right now it appears he's leading the way, despite what the depth chart indicates.

Buffalo: Bills' QB competition still "wide open"

After an impressive start to training camp, EJ Manuel had his worst practice of camp on Sunday as the Bills continue to run more complicated defenses against the rookie. Manuel has had the benefit of seeing the majority of first-team reps with Kevin Kolb out due to an injury, but as Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings wrote, Manuel hasn't done much to separate himself during that stretch.

The more noteworthy item than Manuel struggling: the fact that, with Kolb sidelined for two full practices, Manuel did not exactly take command of the battle for the starting quarterback job. With Kolb returning to the lineup quickly, that position remains very much wide open.

Kolb is expected to return to practice early this week. This battle will likely take at least a couple of preseason games to be decided.

Jacksonville: Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert co-starters

Like the Jets, the Jaguars listed two quarterbacks on the first team on their initial depth chart. And like the Jets, that in itself could say a lot about who's leading the competition, especially with neither QB pulling away, as Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country wrote:

The competition between Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert continues to be a slap fight, as neither really took a step forward in the scrimmage. Gabbert had a couple of touchdown passes, one being a beautiful throw to Brett Brackett in the back of the endzone, where Gabbert dropped the ball over the defender and right onto Brackett's hands. Henne also had a nice jump ball touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis, but overall it was a lot of short passes and check downs.

The Jaguars may decide to move on from both quarterbacks after this season, but if either was going to have a long-term future in Jacksonville, it would be Gabbert. He's still young enough where could develop while Henne has shown what he is capable of. If Gabbert can continue to avoid mistakes, he may not "win" the quarterback job, but he won't lose it.

Philadelphia: Michael Vick pulling away from Nick Foles

The Eagles joined the Jaguars and Jets in listing two quarterbacks on the first team, but if Vick continues to practice like he has lately, the co-starter listing may not be around for long. According to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com, Vick has begun to separate from Foles.

It's still early enough in camp for Foles to make up ground, but he may need Vick to struggle if he is going to pass him. Rookie Matt Barkley hasn't been a factor in the competition yet and hasn't taken any first- or second-team snaps in 11-on-11 drills.

Oakland: Matt Flynn still leads, Terrelle Pryor improving

Flynn has been steady thus far and remains the likely starter heading into the regular season. Although there was some thought that rookie Tyler Wilson could challenge Flynn in training camp, that has proven to not be the case. Instead of challenging for the starting or even backup job, Wilson has dropped to fourth on the depth chart behind undrafted rookie free agent Matt McGloin.

Terrelle Pryor is off to a strong start in camp, with Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle saying Pryor has improved his accuracy considerably. Pryor has the most athletic tools of any quarterback on the roster and could potentially still challenge Flynn if he's able to continue to improve.

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Complete NFL training camp coverage

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