It’s that time of year again. Fall is quickly approaching, the weather is starting to cool down, and another New York Jets offseason full of drama is in the books.
One of the big story lines throughout training camp was the quarterback competition. After spending a second-round pick on West Virginia product Geno Smith it was clear the organization was not extremely comfortable with Mark Sanchez under center. The two went head to head for awhile, but then the third preseason game happened.
Smith was given the start against the New York Giants and was anything but spectacular. It was at the point where people assumed he lost the job on his own. Then, head coach Rex Ryan decided to put Sanchez in the game in the fourth quarter behind a backup offensive line. Sanchez dropped back for a pass, was hit by the Giants’ Marvin Austin, and hurt his right shoulder.
At this point Sanchez is still not ready to play. This led to the Jets deciding to name Smith their starter for Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith technically did not win the competition, as of yet. The competition, according to the Jets, is still going on.
Management didn’t do Smith any favors by pitting him against a tough Tampa defense in his NFL debut. The Bucs’ defense, featuring Darrelle Revis, is a very solid unit. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets rely heavily on the run and ease Smith in with some short passes.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast Offense contains a lot of quick passes and the best way to make their rookie quarterback feel comfortable would be to get him to complete a few easy passes early in the game.
As for the Jets’ defense there are a number of young guys who will play big roles this season. Rookies Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson definitely improved as camp went on.
Tampa Bay has a solid rushing attack led by running back Doug Martin. In his rookie campaign he rushed for over 1,400 yards, so the Jets will have to do a great job of stuffing the line. If they can do that it will put pressure on quarterback Josh Freeman and force him to make plays. He’s thrown 63 interceptions in his first four seasons in the league, so if the Jets’ line can get in his face they have a chance to make some big plays.
It’s tough to make the jump from college to the pros and the Jets are sure to go through some growing pains on both sides of the ball this season. This may be the beginning of a new era with Smith or just a waiting period until Sanchez is healthy enough to come back. Right now the Jets are taking it one week at a time.
Final Score: Tampa Bay 17 New York 10
About the Author
Written by Matt Brody