Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sanchez to start, doesn't mean he's the starter


Mark Sanchez will start Friday night. That doesn't mean he's the starter.

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan told reporters Tuesday Sanchez will be the first quarterback to take the field in Gang Green's preseason opener against the Detroit Lions.

"It seemed like the natural thing to do," Ryan said after declaring the quarterback battle between Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith an "even competition."

Neither Ryan nor offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg were specific on how the first-team reps would be split up, but both made it clear that while Sanchez will get the game-opening nod, Smith will also jump in for some work with the first team before taking some reps with the second team.

Sanchez is the incumbent, so it's no shocker that he gets first dibs on the snaps while the rookie is eased into action. For example, Kellen Clemens took the first reps of the 2009 preseason when Sanchez was a rookie, but Sanchez went on to win the Week 1 job rather easily.

Mornhinweg sounded Sanchez-leaning yet mostly moderate when assessing where the quarterbacks stand at this point.

"Here is what we have with the New York Jets:," he said. "We have a man that has led this team to two AFC Championship Games. He’s taken a little bit of a dip. He’s got a host of experience that goes a long way. He’s shown that he can play at a high level and his challenge is to play at that high level on a real consistent basis.

"And then on the other hand, you have a man that’s right out of college. He’s certainly ultra-talented. He’s done an excellent job to date with his preparation off the field and the production on the field. He’s done an excellent job that way, quite a little bit more dynamic that way."

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