New York Jets QB Battle – Conspiracy Theories?

The conspiracy theorists are out about the New York Jets quarterback battle

Today Rex Ryan declined to name his starting quarterback for the New York Jets second pre-season game. The game isn’t until Saturday and rookie Geno Smith is still working back to 100% from a minor ankle injury, yet the conspiracy theorists are out. Rex and Marty Mornhinweg have gamed the system. The competition is over. The Jets didn’t even give Geno a fair look in Detroit. Mornhinweg basically admitted to it already, right?

People need to calm down, although this is generally difficult for Jets fans when the situation involves Mark Sanchez. There is no conspiracy theory. There is no stacked deck so Sanchez wins the job.

The Jets have diligently rotated both quarterbacks with the starters from day one of training camp. Smith started the Green and White Scrimmage with the first offense. Sanchez started the first pre-season game, as expected. The Jets went out of their way to keep their starting offense in for an extended period of time so Smith received work with them.

Was the play-calling relatively simplistic for Smith? Yes. He was a rookie receiving his first game action, so one could say it was smart for Mornhinweg to ease him in with a couple of easy completions. Two of Smith’s drives were torpedoed by penalties on his offensive lineman, were they in on the conspiracy? Early in the second half, the Jets dialed up a double play-action deep post for Smith AKA a home-run ball or a chance for him to show off his arm strength. He hesitated on the throw and scrambled, hurting his ankle in the process. Smith was then forced to leave prematurely before getting to work through the rest of the script the team had laid out for him.

It is too early to judge Smith negatively or positively, as a prospective starting quarterback for week 1. He threw 7 short passes against Detroit and will get plenty of more work with the starters against Jacksonville, likely beginning the game under center as long as his ankle keeps progressing.

Rex Ryan is in the business of keeping his job. If Smith is clearly outplaying Sanchez (he hasn’t yet), Ryan will play him. Right now, the battle has been relatively even, despite the horrific, putrid pick-six Sanchez threw against Detroit. There is no conspiracy, there is just a reality that Smith may not start until week 4 or week 8, which may not be the worst thing in the world for Smith or the team.

That being said, the competition isn’t over yet. Can we save the hysterics? The team has played one pre-season game.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • KAsh

    Ever since the Green-White Scrimmage, I suspected that Mornhinweg also uses his second string offense or a mix of the starters and backups to try out wacky plays. Just to see what his offense can and cannot do. We saw Smith try a weird read-option handoff in Detroit. There was the unexpected wildcat direct snap to a WR on one of the last drives in the Scrimmage. Sometimes these plays work; mostly they do not. So you have to include that in your evaluation. There are other things going on besides the QB competition.

    As for who gets the start against the Jags, let Geno’s ankle heal. Will you be satisfied if he has to limp onto the field?

  • Worldboy90

    Or Sanchez Wins the job and gets us to the 10-6 and the play offs. That could happen ;). Smith reminds me of kyle boller.

  • Jetsluva

    Worldboy90, How can Smith remind of you Kyle Boller at this point he hasn’t had a chance to show anything yet? Sanchez is barely edging out a rookie QB so I don’t think there’s a strong chance for him to lead the team to 10 wins. He’s still making the same kind of mistakes. They want to give Geno as much time as possible to see if he can make the final step to show he can be the starter. He’s very close.

  • Nikolas

    No. Geno Smith reminds me of my 60 year old Ethics professor, when he was young, and the delivery boy from the Pizzeria in the corner of 17th street and Park.

  • Nikolas

    Reminds me of a Black Obama too.

  • Aaron

    Well, that escalated quickly…

    I tend to agree with Kash though.

  • Mark Phelan

    Of course Saturday’s starting QB is uncertain. Smith is injured.

  • Angel

    How could Rex and Marty name a starter at QB if they are not even sure Geno’s ankle is healed?

    Imagine they named Geno the starter, even though he was gimpy, then he makes it more gimpy in practice… then he has to hobble onto the field to start or Rex has to bench him and start Sanchez? That would be ridiculous.

    Who would even suggest that as a viable scenario? Really? Who are these people?

    @Nikolas, C’mon man! Why would you suggest Geno is a failure or that he’s going to destroy the franchise for years to come before he has even done anything? Have an open mind. Have some Hope. Maybe he can Change the Jets fortunes for the better. Can he? Yes, he can. Can Sanchez? Yes, he can!

  • David

    The situation seems similar to the 49ers 2 seasons ago. The head coach wasn’t happy with the starter, Alex Smith, who had a really good year while Colin K. sat on the bench. Colin K. learned and then became the starter when the opportunity arose. We’ll probably see something similar with the Jets.

  • Drew

    My QB conspiracy theory:

    The better player will play. I have no idea who is winning the competition, but I do know they aren’t going to hand the keys over to a rookie without him earning it.

    If it were my competition, I would probably start Mark all through the preseason, but allow Smith so get some reps with the first team. This would be a motivation tactic. Smith will work his butt off to earn the starting job (and he will get better in the process). On the other hand, Mark playing with his back against the wall, playing to keep the starting job.

    I would announce Smith the winner of the competition when it gets closer to the start of the season. The reason a starter has not been named yet is because once you name Smith, there is no turning back.

    Smith will be my starter because it seems like we want him as our guy for the future. If Smith goes down, Mark comes in as back-up with none of the pressure or expectations he has been held to in the past.

  • Nikolas

    Angel. I was joking.
    I like Geno and I want him to win the job.

  • Gary

    Joe, ready your commenters here and stop letting the nonsense fans on twitter make you overreact. This whole “conspiracy” thing is just annoying me, I’m about as big of a Sanchez hater as you can get, but a hurt Geno shouldn’t start. And anyone with any football sense understand that. In addition, if Geno doesn’t play well in training camp/pre-season he should not start. In my mind this is more about Geno playing well or not rather than Sanchez outplaying him, since adding in potential I think Geno should win the tie-breaker against Sanchez. Yet, with Geno hurt, and now a “horrendous” practice today, it doesn’t look tied at this instance.

    This is a rebuilding year regardless, and the difference between Geno starting week 1 vs week 6 is minimal. Now, if Sanchez plays like last year AND is not benched for Geno after multiple awful performances, THEN the conspiracy theories can start. But right now, this idea that the media (and now you guys are joining into the nonsense jets media story lines) has put together about this “conspiracy” just sounds ridiculous.

  • joeydefiant

    jetsluva, sanchez has led the team to the playoffs 2 out of 4 years. how do you come up with it being “impossible” for him to do it again because he is “making the same mistakes”? if he is making the same mistakes that led them to two afc championship games why do you think its so impossible to do again?

    conspiracies get ratings, comments, page views, and hits thats why writers make them up. as long as people keep getting excited about them they will be manufactured. the team they all say on espn is going to be horrible always gets the most page views and comments. enjoy it jets fans would you rather the team be ignored and get no coverage like the jaguars or raiders?

  • Angel

    After watching Geno Smith throw three interceptions Wednesday in a damp and chilly practice, Ryan was asked to assess the rookie’s day.

    “Brutal,” Ryan said bluntly.

    Yeah, and people want Geno to start.

  • KAsh

    No, I am more than happy with Geno throwing interceptions in practice. It means he is quickening his throws, throwing into tighter coverage, trying to move the ball down the field with whatever he has available. Now, the extreme of this is Sanchez, who needs to learn his own limits and what throws are too dangerous to make. But Geno is not Sanchez – yet – and a playmaker takes the responsibility on himself to make the play, get the down, prolong the drive, whatever it takes to advance the team. Interceptions are part of that responsibility. Geno needs to still be willing to make the dangerous throws, even after being intercepted, without making the reckless ones.

  • Worldboy90

    Hey I’m just saying. Sanchez has had bad Offensive Coordinators and below average Wide Outs for all his four years. And I love me some Thomas Jones and LT, but to be honest, our teams didn’t have good “YPC” we just ran the ball; Alot. We didn’t have a great run game, we just ran the ball over and over and over again. We had a good run game, below average skill players, and yes, an amazing Defense.

    Listen, I just don’t like Geno based on what he did in college. He cramped up and snow-balled quickly when he faced a tough D. I know Sanchez has done the same, but Sanchez has also proven he can light up a Tough D and stand their and take some Brutal Hits. One thing that’s forgotten Sanchez is Durable as hell, and never whines or moans about those years getting blasted behind really shoddy pass protection Lines/ Tight ends.

    I just believe in Sanchez to get one more shot though. Fifth year, got a few weapons, got a real O-coordinator. Give him a go. If he fails, him and Rex will probably go down with the ship and we could happily blow the whole thing up and I could take a few years break from being a fan. If we go with Geno, being a gambler, I would bet a whole lot of money we aren’t making the play offs. And its based off his footwork, demeanor, posture, tendency to fumbles, inability to read more complicated defenses, etc. That’s why he reminds of Kyle Boller. He has a freaking cannon from an arm, easily carves up powder puff defenses, but I really think he needs some Aaron rodgers treatment and to just sit on the bench for atleast one year and learn. If Sanchez bombs, cool, him and the new rookie QB we get next year can battle it out. If Sanchez has a rebound season A-la Alex Smith, we can flip Geno for a first rounder down the road A-la Kevin Kolb. He also kind of reminds of Kolb too. A mix of Boller and Kolb..

    I’m not trying to be a hater, just not coming up with favorable comparisons. And the whole he’s athletic thing, he averaged like 3 ypc when he ran it in college so that’s not his thing.

    Just saying. I hated Sanchez when they drafted him, but he won me over with big plays in big moments and two great play off runs, and gutting it out that Steelers AFC game and nearly rallying the team to the biggest come-back in play off history. That deserves respect. Geno? We’ll see, but I’m sticking with my guy for now.