Rex Ryan says Geno Smith is not the face of the franchise just yet

Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith participate in team

Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith participate in team OTAs at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (June 5, 2013) (Credit: James Escher)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Members of Jets Nation may have to hold off on hailing Geno Smith as the next face of the franchise.

Despite speculation that the Jets may be close to naming a starting quarterback, Rex Ryan said "it's way too early to say" whether Smith or incumbent Mark Sanchez has the edge.

"Some days, this guy looks good. Some days, this guy looks good," the coach said. " . . . It's a long process. Like I said, once it's totally 100 percent clear who the guy is, then we can look at making that decision.

"But right now, this is just the early stages of it. I think there is a long way to go."

Neither quarterback fared particularly well during Wednesday's OTA session, which was geared toward red-zone efficiency. But Sanchez -- the beleaguered fourth-year quarterback -- reiterated "I'm having one of my best offseasons."

While he praised Smith for doing "a great job" in practice and in the classroom, Sanchez also reminded reporters that he's no stranger to competition. And publicly, he remains unnerved by the youngster's presence.

"I've competed my whole life, whether it was in high school or college, beating out other quarterbacks . . . That's all I've known, so it's nothing new," Sanchez said. "It's nothing big or scary. I'm just being myself and doing my very best and that'll be good enough."

When reminded that he only had to compete "briefly" with Kellen Clemens at the start of his rookie season in 2009, Sanchez replied flatly: "OK. So this will be briefly."

"It doesn't bother me," he said of being challenged by Smith. "I'm apathetic to it."

Smith, on the other hand, isn't intimidated either.

"Sometimes you want to see when a young quarterback comes in, is it too big for him?" Ryan said of the second-round pick. "I don't think it's too big for him . . . He can throw it with anybody."

But it's far too soon to know which player will start in Week 1, the coach insisted.

"For me to make the decision, to say the competition is over, it's going to have to be 100 percent clear to me," Ryan said. "And if it's not, then we're going to keep competing until whenever."

And if it's a tie?

"We'll do what we normally do," he joked. "Flip a coin."

 

Jet streams

WR Stephen Hill skipped team drills as a precaution because of swelling and fluid in his surgically-repaired knee. WRs Jeremy Kerley (heel) and Clyde Gates (hamstring) also sat out, but all three are expected to participate in next week's mandatory minicamp . . . Ryan said WR Santonio Holmes (Lisfranc) could start training camp on the PUP list . . . RB Mike Goodson reportedly missed Wednesday's OTA because of a stomach bug, but Ryan expects him to be present for minicamp. Goodson, however, is due in court June 12 in connection with his May 17 arrest on weapons and drug charges in Denville, N.J.

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