Mark Sanchez refuses to picture a scenario in which he opens this season on the New York Jets' bench.
The maligned quarterback is in for what's expected to be a tight competition with rookie Geno Smith. He's confident, though, and insists he's up to the challenge.
''I'm planning on playing,'' Sanchez said Thursday. ''I'm planning on starting.''
Sanchez, entering his fifth season, knows there's a long way to go before coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg make the decision on who's under center in Week 1 when the Jets open against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Smith, the hard-throwing former West Virginia star who was the Jets' second-round pick, has been trying to say all the right things since coming to New York. Even that he'd be OK if he's the one starting the season with a cap and a clipboard.
''The coaches are going to choose who they feel is best for the team,'' Smith said. ''It's not my job to really worry about that. Like I said, I just go out there and ...