Jets sign Brady Quinn as reserve quarterback
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Jets said nothing new Monday about their ongoing quarterback quandary, but at least they did something new, adding longtime disappointment Brady Quinn to replace Graham Harrell among their Worrisome Foursome.
What this means is not entirely clear, given that all involved were reticent, either because of legitimate uncertainty or in an attempt to confuse the Tampa Bay Bucs as they prepare for Sunday's opener. Or both.
All Rex Ryan would say was that adding Quinn, whom Seattle released Saturday, is part of the Jets' ongoing goal to "build the best team that you can.''
Quinn, 28, does seem to bring more to the table than did Harrell, and he could help mentor rookie Geno Smith. But his signing after a morning workout Monday prompted a series of questions for Ryan.
Notably this: Does adding an experienced backup ahead of Matt Simms indicate Sanchez will not be back from a right shoulder injury by Sunday, meaning Smith is a near lock to start in his first NFL regular-season game?
Ryan would not say, beyond confirming that Sanchez did not practice with the offense Monday and has not since he was hurt Aug. 24 against the Giants.
Neither Sanchez nor Ryan would so much as say whether Sanchez has attempted to throw a football. Sanchez said he is "feeling better each day'' and will "make a good push''' to get back by Sunday. But he repeatedly declined to go into detail about his injury and rehab, saying only that he is "day-to-day.''
Has Smith been told he will start? "Not yet,'' Smith said, adding, "Mark's status is very uncertain right now. We'll see.''
Ryan will update Sanchez's condition when the official injury report is due Wednesday.
The bigger question raised by the Quinn signing is whether it could imperil Sanchez's place on the roster. Sanchez is to receive $8.75 million in salary and bonus this year, but the Jets in theory could put him on injured reserve and keep Smith, Quinn and Simms. Because he is a veteran, Quinn's salary will become guaranteed this weekend.
The first time Ryan was asked about the possibility of IR for Sanchez, he said, "We'll look at all those factors as we move forward, but looking into it more than what it is, it was just an opportunity for us, we feel, to get a good football player [in Quinn].''
Ryan later was asked twice to clarify and said: "If we felt as an organization he should be placed on IR, then Mark would have been placed on IR. Can things change? Absolutely, things can change. We said he's day-to-day. That's a long way from saying he's going on IR.''
A person familiar with Sanchez's situation said Quinn's arrival will not affect his roster status.
"I don't really think about that,'' Sanchez said. "I'm just thinking about getting back onto the field as soon as possible.''
Smith said the ankle he injured in the preseason opener is almost fully healed, a "night- and-day'' improvement.
"Leading up to the injury, I was spinning the ball pretty good,'' he said. "You can never really tell how much it affects you until you don't have it anymore . . . A couple of practices ago, I was able to drive it again. It just felt extremely great to have that back.''
Smith said it was easy for him to move past his three-interception debacle against the Giants, calling it "a learning experience'' and "another steppingstone in my career.''
Quinn said the Jets did not ask him to serve as a mentor for Smith, but he expects to offer his assistance and share some hard-earned lessons.
Seattle opted to keep Tarvaris Jackson as the backup to Russell Wilson despite good preseason numbers from Quinn (22-for-38, 271 yards, two TDs, no INTs).
A first-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2007, Quinn has 12 career touchdown passes and 17 interceptions with the Browns, Broncos and Chiefs.
"I try to look at things optimistically,'' he said. "It hasn't gone maybe the dream way that you envisioned, but I'm still blessed to do the one thing that I love to do most.''