Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 11/20/14

If you ask Mark Sanchez, the only reason Geno Smith is lining up behind center against the Patriots Thursday night is because of Sanchez’s injured shoulder. The New York Jets quarterback told NFL Network's Rich Eisen on the Gillette Stadium field Thursday that "I won the competition. There’s no doubt." According to Eisen, Sanchez told him he is eager to be there for Smith, but is disappointed about not starting the regular season since he thought he won the job until he was injured Aug. 24 in a preseason game against the Giants. He has a separated shoulder and also reportedly has a partially torn labrum. But Sanchez would not confirm that to Eisen. "I really can’t get into that part," Sanchez said. Sanchez said the doctors who examined his shoulder are "pleasantly surprised" by his "progress." Contrary to some reports, last year's Jets starter stated that his plan is to rehab the shoulder — instead of undergoing surgery — and get back on the field. After incorrect reports surfaced Thursday that Sanchez was out for the season, it's interesting to hear him now try to get out in front of the story. He's making it clear that he doesn't want the Jets to end his season. Sanchez said he's not angry with the Jets, but he believes he earned the right to play with a better August performance than the rookie quarterback. Rex Ryan must be happy to hear that.

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