CORTLAND, N.Y. - A quarterback decision likely won't be made after Saturday night's Green and White scrimmage. But the result of the Jets' simulated game could help swing the pendulum in the favor of incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez or rookie Geno Smith.
"Every single guy wants to go out there and perform well in the scrimmage," Smith said. "You want to be that guy when you go back and watch tape and the coaches are praising you saying, 'Hey, this is the type of guy we need here' . . . and every single guy's going to have that in the back of their minds."
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After Friday's intense live-tackling practice -- which included goal-line and short-yardage situations for the first time in camp -- Saturday night's scrimmage can't come soon enough for players desperate to distinguish themselves from the pack. And all eyes will be on Sanchez and Smith.
Neither quarterback knows who will start the game, but coach Rex Ryan expects each to get a chance to play with the first and second teams.
With hundreds of fans expected to fill the SUNY Cortland stands, Sanchez -- who was 3-for-6 with a touchdown and a sack Friday -- initially tried to temper the hype surrounding the game. He later said, "This next measuring stick, really, is the scrimmage. So the Green and White game is always fun, it's always competitive, and we'll get ramped up here."
Smith, meanwhile, said "every single day has been a pressure day, every single rep."
Asked if he feels as if he's caught up to Sanchez, the rookie offered a politically correct answer. "It's up to the coaches. I just evaluate myself," he said, adding that he was pleased with Friday's practice performance. "I don't worry about any of that other stuff and I feel like at this point I'm at least close to where I should be. Am I perfect? No. Am I making good strides? Yes. So I think as long as I stay on that track, I'll be fine."
Sanchez said he believes the Jets are on pace "for something special" this season. But it remains to be seen whether he'll be a part of it.
To date, the fifth-year quarterback has thrown three interceptions in team drills, compared to zero by the rookie.
"To limit mistakes is something that a quarterback's always got to do," said Smith, who finished 3-for-3 with two touchdowns and two sacks Friday. His best throw was a 40-yard touchdown pass to Bilal Powell. "I was always taught it's not always about the plays you make but the plays that you don't make. So I just try not to put us in poor situations."
Protecting the football has been Sanchez's biggest issue. But the veteran -- who hit Jeremy Kerley with a 30-yard pass during 7-on-7 drills -- still believes he's in control.
"I'm not going to speak for Geno or the coaches, but I'll speak for myself," he said when asked if he's currently ahead. "I feel like I'm having a great camp; as I said, my arms feel good, my legs feel good, I feel strong, I feel accurate, I feel like I'm in command. So I've just got to keep playing."