FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets tapped rookie Geno Smith as their opening-day starter but left the door open, or at least slightly ajar, for Mark Sanchez’s return when healthy.
“I expect everything—many different looks. I expect pressure, especially early,” the rookie quarterback from West Virginia said of Sunday’s start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “They’ll try and rattle my cage… I expect those guys to come out fired up. They want to make a statement (against) a rookie quarterback. Definitely want to hit me and try to get me out of my game. But I expect those things and I look forward to it.”
History shows the 22-year-old Smith will be trying to buck some rather questionable passing numbers by Week 1 rookie starters.
The fifth-year veteran Sanchez, who injured his throwing shoulder in an Aug. 24 preseason game against the New York Giants, is owed $8.25 million this season. He has committed a league-worst 52 turnovers the past two years, but team management insisted Wednesday he would not be cut or placed on IR.
“We’re having a competition between quarterbacks, and that competition isn’t finished,” said owner Woody Johnson. “Mark will be on the team, I don’t think there’s any question about that. He’s a very, very good quarterback. Franchise quarterback, you can debate the term. There’s a competition for the job, and he’s still in the competition.”
Smith endured an injury of his own when he sprained his ankle against the Lions on Aug. 9. He also tossed three interceptions the same night Sanchez was injured, half the total Smith threw his entire senior season at WVU.
Check out the preseason gallery of Smith above.