Neither Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith have separated themselves. [USA TODAY Sports]
The biggest story for the New York Jets this offseason has been the quarterback competition between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith. It will remain the top attention-getter throughout training camp, as a winner may not be decided until the preseason.
Like all players, they have strengths and weaknesses which will determine who gets the job.
Mark Sanchez hasn’t shown very many strengths over the past two seasons. If Mark expects to win the job, he’s going to stop turning the ball over and play with confidence. I've only seen a handful of games throughout his career where Sanchez has played with confidence, and, when he does, he's a QB that won't lose a game for a team.
The worst thing about Sanchez is that he is a turnover machine. He had twice as many turnovers (26) as he had touchdowns (13) in 2013. Throughout his tenure with the Jets, Sanchez has been, consistently, one of the most turnover-prone QBs in the league. He claims to have had his best offseason yet, but I guess we'll see when training camp comes around.
Geno Smith has a good, not great arm, and can make the throws Sanchez can’t. Sanchez only completed 54.3% of his passes last season, which ranked 30th in the league. Smith has, based on WVU film, greater strength to air the ball out than Sanchez, and can put more zip behind the ball—football gets to the target before the defender has a play to make.
It's a huge transition into the NFL; once he gets the playbook down, he’ll be better than Sanchez, in my opinion. Smith is the better fit for the west coast offense because it is very similar to what he ran in college, besides the fact he played heavily under shotgun. He completed 72% of his passes in his final season at West Virginia. I don't think Sanchez has the accuracy to hit the tight windows or have the speed on the ball to hit the window on time.
Keys: Sanchez doesn't do good under pressure. He throws bad interceptions or takes a sack. Smith, on the other hand, steps up, doesn't panic, and will make the throw or throw the ball away.
In camp, neither player seems to have outperformed the other, but Rex Ryan has made it clear that at this point, Mark Sanchez is more ready to start than Geno Smith, by some of the comments he made during mini-camp. So with that being said, Sanchez will probably get the starting job. I only say this because Rex Ryan has always been a big fan of ole Marky Mark. I think Sanchez will struggle as he usually does. John Idzik, Rex Ryan, and the fans will have had enough of Mark Sanchez. Then it's Geno Smith's turn.
Geno will take over by Week 5 and make the teams that passed on him regret it. Once he takes over, I don’t think we’ll see Sanchez play in a Jets uniform again.