Sanchez won the New York Jets' starting quarterback gig his rookie season in 2009 basically by default, since his competition was Kellen Clemens. From 2010 to 2012, he was the clear-cut top option and leader at his position.
But after a couple of sub-par seasons and the Jets' drafting a quarterback in the second round -- one who was projected to go in the first round -- in Geno Smith, Sanchez is currently fighting for his job.
Not only are the team's beat writers charting stats and notes about every throw Sanchez and Smith make, but more front office members than usual are on the sidelines documenting the positional battle.
"When you take a step back or you're sipping water and you just kind of give a glance around, it's like: 'Doesn't that guy work upstairs? What's he doing out here?'" Sanchez said Wednesday, via Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday.
". . . Everything's under scrutiny. There's a ton of pressure but that's the way you like it. That's why you play the position and it makes it fun."
Sanchez has been the favorite to start Week 1, but Smith has reportedly been impressive, showing more zip and accuracy on his passes while exuding enough confidence for his teammates to take notice.
A solid showing from Smith at the team's Green and White scrimmage Saturday and visible improvement in the preseason could force his coaches' hands, and if that happens, Sanchez's future could very much be in doubt. If there's any time the veteran Sanchez needs to grab the bull by the horns, it's now.
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