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Jets: QB competition could drag on until fourth preseason game

Jets quarterback coach David Lee talks with quarterbacks

Jets quarterback coach David Lee talks with quarterbacks after practice during training camp in Cortland. (Aug. 13, 2013) (Credit: Hans Pennink)

Unlike the media and some of their fans, the Jets are in no rush to name a starting quarterback for the season.

After making the announcement Thursday afternoon that Geno Smith will start the third preseason game against the Giants Saturday, quarterbacks coach David Lee and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg both said the competition between the rookie and veteran Mark Sanchez could last until the fourth preseason game.

“Let’s go to the Philly game,” Lee said, referring to their final contest on Aug. 29.

“There’s no hurry,” he said, before adding with a smile, “There is to y'all, obviously.”

Mornhinweg admitted he would have preferred for the competition to be over by now, but the coaching staff simply doesn’t have enough film yet of Smith to make an accurate call.

“Look it, I would have rather had it done quite a bit earlier,” the offensive coordinator said. “But the competition continues.”

Sanchez -- who was “a little bit ahead of the game,” according to Mornhinweg -- dipped early in camp, while Smith dipped later on.

Each quarterback has his own set of strengths, the offensive coordinator said. Mornhinweg highlighted Sanchez's two AFC title-game appearances, though he added the fifth-year signal-caller has had “a couple of struggles of late.”

But he quickly added Sanchez has had a “terrific training camp.”

Smith, on the other hand, is “highly talented,” “sharp,” a “diligent worker” and “athletic,” according to the offensive coordinator.

“He simply lacks experience,” said Mornhinweg.

Lee admitted his own personal QB meter fluctuates on a given day, depending on how each guy performs in practice. One day, he thinks Sanchez will win the starting job, but at other times, he said, it looks as if Smith will come out on top.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said he meets after every game with general manager John Idzik, coaches, team scouts and other personnel executives to discuss the entire roster. Ryan also talks “informally” to Idzik and Mornhinweg on a daily basis.

And their quarterback situation often is a topic of conversation.

While the coaching staff is hoping either Smith or Sanchez “elevates” himself in the coming days and weeks, Mornhinweg said the team has discussed the possibility that neither of them does. In that case, he said, they’ll rely on their instincts to make the final call. 

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