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Rex Ryan: No 'timetable' to name Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez the starter vs. Jaguars

Jets quarterback Geno Smith, right, walks past quarterback

Jets quarterback Geno Smith, right, walks past quarterback Mark Sanchez during training camp. (Aug. 11, 2013) (Credit: Hans Pennink)

CORTLAND – The Jets have just four days until their second preseason game against Jacksonville. And it seems Rex Ryan and his staff are prepared to wait until the last minute to name their starting quarterback.

“We’re just going to keep seeing how it keeps going as the week goes. And then we’ll make that decision,” Ryan said.

The Jets coach stood firm Tuesday when peppered by questions about his current quarterback situation and whether Geno Smith will be tabbed to start at home against the Jaguars.

After Mark Sanchez played with the first-team offense in their preseason opener in Detroit, it makes logical sense that Smith would get the same opportunity this weekend. Ryan concurred, but he wouldn’t concede.

“Number one, there doesn’t have to be a timetable,” he said. “Obviously, we want to see where Geno’s at, how he’s progressing in the week and we’ll make that decision.”

The rookie still is somewhat hobbled by the right ankle he sprained in the Lions game. But on Tuesday, his limp was far less noticeable. Ryan admitted Smith’s injury is one of several variables that the coaching staff must take into consideration – but he wouldn’t confirm it’s the most important one.

“Let’s see how the week plays out and then we’ll make the right decision then,” he said. “Is that a factor? Certainly, it’s a factor. Is it the primary one? I don’t know. A lot of factors go into it. …Let’s make sure we’re making the appropriate decision at the appropriate time.”

Both quarterbacks are expected to get playing time with the first-team offense against the Jaguars. But as of now, neither Ryan nor offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg are willing to say which quarterback is currently in the lead.

Ryan also said he’s not tied to any timetable when it comes to naming his opening day starter either. When reminded that starters typically play into the second half of the third preseason game, Ryan said: “Well, that’s usually the scenario. Absolutely. But we’ll see where we’re at when we get there.

“It’s not set in stone that it’s an absolute must; that that has to happen. We may still be in the evaluating stage for all the positions. We have competition at guard and yet, a young guy we felt great about – Brian Winters – hasn’t been able to play yet.”

As for this weekend’s starter, Ryan is keeping that tidbit of intel close to the vest. And the possibility of fans booing Sanchez won’t be a factor in his decision.

“No, absolutely not. Absolutely not,” he assured his audience.

Nevertheless, Ryan hopes fans can move past Sanchez’s NFL-leading 52 turnovers and the Buttfumble.

“Ah, shoot. Fans can do what they want,” the Jets coach said, reiterating sentiments he shared prior to their preseason opener. 

“And we’ve said that. I certainly hope we can move past it and we can focus on what’s in front of us. And give, not just Mark, but all of us a fair shake. But you certainly have the right to do whatever you choose. If you want to boo, whoever it is. Our fans certainly have that right. To me, yeah, I absolutely hope that doesn’t happen.

“I hope that everybody is behind us 100 percent. When things go wrong, I certainly understand it. There’s going to be criticism and things like that, but to start with, I would hope that our fans would be behind us all the way.”

Asked if the Jets would purposely avoid introducing Sanchez and the rest of the offense for fear of boos, Ryan just laughed.

“You’d have to ask someone else that question – (someone) who comes up with that. But it certainly won’t affect me, who we introduce. That’s why the defense will be introduced,” he said, jokingly.

“I have no idea who’s being introduced.” 

Tags: jets , rex ryan , geno smith , mark sanchez

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