The New York Jets have made competition a strong theme of this past training camp. The competition has improved the Jets depth chart from a year ago.
1 Mark Sanchez 1 Geno Smith (unconfirmed)
2 Greg McElroy 2 Matt Simms (unconfirmed)
3 Tim Tebow/ Wildcat Package 3 Unsure due to injuries to Mark Sanchez/Greg McElroy
So, in 2012 there was no competition for Sanchez, as McElroy was a raw backup and Tebow was strictly a Wild Card Package player, similar to Brad Smith role in the past.
Look at how competition changed the depth chart in 2013:
Week 1 starter Geno Smith is a second round draft pick; a raw talent with a big arm. Smith has a lot prove having a 3 interception preseason game hanging over him. His draft status gives the Jets freedom from locking into him for the future. The investment is low-risk but could result in high reward. Smith’s salary is around 1 million a season with the new CBA rules and rookie contracts cannot be re-done for 3 years. If Smith can be the starting quarterback, the Jets will have cap room by releasing Sanchez, which means money to invest in skill players.
NOTE: An example situation around the NFL of Geno Smith is the Carolina Panthers. Jimmy Clausen had the same draft status as Smith: a second round draft pick.They played Clausen his rookie season and it didn’t work out. The next year, the team drafted Cam Newton in the first round. They were able do this because second round money is a low investment. Just to update on it, they released Clausen at the end of camp this year.
Therefore, it’s Vital the Jets play Smith to decide on the team’s quarterback future during a rebuilding process.
Matt Simms signed with the Jets at the end of the year. He has been working hard and trying to make the team. He too is raw talent with a great arm and performed very well in the preseason. Woth McElroy’s injuries limiting him in the preseason, Simms has a good chance in passing him on the depth chart. Simms has the potential to move up the chart in years to come. Indeed, he may find himself the opening day 2nd string quarterback due to injuries which is just one hit away from starting.
Mark Sanchez is in the last year of his guaranteed money part contract. An NFL contract’s value is only as good as the guaranteed money. Teh fact of the matter is, Sanchez has not played up to his contract. New GM John Idzik is bringing in competition and the writing on the wall may be that this is Sanchez’s last season as a Jet. In the third preseason game, Sanchez injured his shoulder and is now listed as day-to-day.
Greg McElroy has been hit with the injury bug to say the least. He got hurt last year after one start and this year after a preseason game. This guy is going to be hard to keep on the team sinply because he’s not dependable enough. What we have now is two quarterbacks with raw talent and good arms. Both will improve with game time reps.
Next season may be the quarterback battle: Smith vs Simms. Sanchez and McElroy provide experience and depth to the rooster. Most of all, I think Sanchez, Smith, and Simms is a big improvement of options over last year. I’d love to groom Smith and Simms together in order to let us have 2 options for the future.
RobbyJerzee’s take on Rex Ryan playing Sanchez in the 4th of Giants preseason game:
It’s my belief that the media and some fans assume Sanchez won the starting job. I thought when you win something it was because of you not having rookie mistakes. According to NFL.com the Jets quarterback competition might be over, but is it really? Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s prefers Geno Smith to be the starter over Mark Sanchez. Mornhinweg said “And this isn’t a ‘Mark Sanchez is injured so I’m voting for Geno’ vote, it’s an ‘even if Sanchez were healthy, I’d still vote for Geno’ vote.”
Let’s sort this out as far as the team goes. It’s known that Rex Ryan is a defensive coach and focuses on defense. Ryan hired Mornhinweg as his offensive coach; he picked a guy he can defer too, specifically so he can remain focused on the defensive side of the ball. Why is the media assuming that Sanchez won the job with this factor? It sounds like Mornhinweg’s choice is Smith and requested Sanchez to get more reps with the backups since he’s going to be his second string quarterback. Ryan told the media he made the call.The coach doesn’t put his coaches or players under the bus, so he took the unnecessary bullets from the media. It seems like the media is going to have to realize that they don’t call the shots on player personnel.
After the game it seemed reporters wanted to be the story instead of reporting it.
It very irresponsible of the media to leave out Mornhinweg’s support on Geno Smith. If they want Rex Ryan to answer a whole question, maybe it starts with them writing half a story. Mornhinweg’s vote is powerful due to the fact that it’s his offense the quarterback will be running. GM John Idzik’s vote would likely be Smith based on the fact of learning his future at the quarterback position, weighing in with what direction he sent his scouting department. Rex Ryan may be the head coach, but being of a defensive mind, he will depend on his coaching staff in the choice.
Hence, in the end it makes complete sense why Sanchez got reps in the 4th quarter. Let me point out the same writers who had been writing about Sanchez being a starter are the same writers who wrote that Rex waited too long to bench him.They are now on a witch hunt for getting Rex Fired.
Rex Ryan’s Future:
Why is the media putting a number of wins on Rex Ryan job? Has football become that simple? Wins and losses? The media is missing the big picture.
General Manager John Idzik is a first time GM, but he has the experience to build a team. This Jets job is very important for Idzik to be successful, and let’s be honest, if he can bring the Jets back to the playoffs, it will be a credit to him. He was handed an over- the-salary cap team and a diva cornerback wanting to get paid. Idzik released a lot players and traded away Darrelle Revis. All moves to get under the cap. He drafted a quarterback in the second round: the start of his team molding together with his stamp on it. The defense has been in place, but Idzik added a pass rusher and speed to it.
If Rex Ryan can get this defense to be a top 5 defense, that would certainly make Idzik’s job easier. This will give him a chance to work on the offense.
The section of the offense that the GM is focused on restoring is the offense line. The running backs put together a mix bag and the cap room made it very hard for him to put together a strong receiver corp. The Jets’ weakness are at the skill position. They need good wide receivers in the next draft.
How can Rex Ryan protect his job for next year?
Rex has to make the GM’s job easier for him.
1. Rex has to show evidence of player development and that the team is going in a winning direction for next year.
2. The month to look at is December when Geno Smith should be under center. A 3-1 record would be ideal during that month.
3. The defense has to be near the top 5.
4. Geno Smith has success and looks like the future.
5. The offense is working well.
If Rex shows all five of them, there would be no reason for the GM to switch coaches.
Rebuilding is not about wins and losses. It’s about player and team growth. Idzik has helped to build the trenches up. Now it’s Rex Ryan’s chance to mold the team around them.