The Jets' quarterback competition ain't over until the formerly fat man sings, but with barely a week until the season opener against Tampa Bay, slimmed-down coach Rex Ryan stuck to a tired refrain in Friday afternoon's media conference call.
Ryan described the competition between Mark Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith as "ongoing," said Sanchez remains "day-to-day" with a shoulder injury and added that there will be no injury updates until Wednesday. As for roster cuts to reach the 53-man limit by Saturday's 6 p.m. deadline, Ryan said those discussions, too, are ongoing.
Sanchez and Smith sat out the Jets' 27-20 victory over Philadelphia in their preseason finale Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. Ryan described the notion that Sanchez will be the Week 1 starter if healthy as an "assumption."
Speaking of the organization's decision, Ryan said, "To me, that hasn't been done . . . I guess you can assume it's ongoing if we haven't announced anything yet."
Ryan labeled reports that Sanchez won't be healthy enough to play against Tampa Bay as "speculation."
Asked what else the organization needs to see to pick a starting QB, Ryan said, "You mention health. That could be a factor. There could be other things as well. Until there's an announcement, then, the competition is ongoing."
The quarterback who drew the most praise from Ryan was Matt Simms, who led the win over Philadelphia, completed 74.6 percent of his passes in preseason and finished with a team-best 103.6 quarterback rating. Simms likely has won the third-string job from Greg McElroy, who sat out the Eagles game with an ankle injury.
"This young man has really improved," Ryan said. "He clearly has the arm talent to play in the league, but quite honestly, I don't know if I've ever seen somebody make the improvements he's made. He's done a great job of learning the system. He's been absolutely outstanding in these preseason games . . . and it's really elevated his stock, I would think."
McElroy had a 99.7 QB rating in his brief preseason stint. Sanchez was at 90.7 and Smith finished at 54.6 after an abysmal start against the Giants in which he threw three interceptions.
Ryan's concern was evident when asked about Smith's readiness if Sanchez can't go against the Bucs. "He started out like gangbusters and then, obviously, had the ankle injury," Ryan said of Smith. "So that set him back. The game against the Giants . . . was a very up-and-down performance. But I think he's had a good week of practice. We'll see where he is and where all our team is as we get closer and closer to kicking off for real against Tampa."
Notes & quotes: Kicker Dan Carpenter reportedly was cut, leaving veteran Nick Folk as the Week 1 kicker . . . No decision has been made on starting battles at LG (Vladimir Ducasse/Brian Winters) and S (Antonio Allen/Jaiquawn Jarrett) . . . A source confirmed that the Jets cut veteran DL Antonio Garay . . . CB Dee Milliner (calf) was seen in a walking boot Thursday. Ryan said an update will come Wednesday . . . Simms was fined $7,875 by the NFL for excessive celebration against the Giants and Ducasse was fined $7,875 for a leg whip.
With Kimberley A. Martin