The 2013 Jets still are a work in progress. And so, too, is their quarterback situation.
The competition between Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez is (at least, for now) ongoing, the Jets brass said Wednesday. But both general manager John Idzik and Woody Johnson admitted quarterback stability is extremely important.
“I think we all know that this is a quarterback-driven league,” Idzik said. “So to the extent that you’re comfortable and you’re stable there, that’s a great thing. That’s what we’re working toward. How long that takes, we’ll see. We’ll continue to press forward and we’ll see how it goes.”
Though Smith has been tabbed to start Sunday’s season opener against the Bucs, the rookie hasn’t won the job outright, the Jets said. Sanchez will remain on the active roster, they said (though, that’s obviously subject to change if his shoulder injury doesn’t improve over the next two weeks).
Asked if the organization has lost confidence in Sanchez, Johnson replied: “I think (head coach) Rex (Ryan) has discussed this. We had a competition between two pretty good quarterbacks, one we drafted and one we had on campus. That process will continue. I don’t know how I can put it any other way. We want to get the best quarterback we can on the field and that’s what we intend to do.”
But one thing is clear as day: if Sanchez still was the face of the franchise, Smith wouldn’t be here.
And the rise and fall of a franchise rests largely on the play of its quarterback, Johnson admitted.
“I think a lot,” he said. “The quarterback position is a very important position in the NFL, as you know. The development of any quarterback, whether it’s a rookie quarterback or a non-rookie quarterback, you want them to develop and get better, get better at reading defenses, get better at their job, delivering the ball better and all that. It’s a very tough job, maybe the hardest job in sports, to be an NFL quarterback.”
But while “it’s pretty evident” that having a set, stable quarterback would help the organization, Johnson said, it’s just not feasible at the moment.
“Yes, you would like to have everything stabilized, but that’s not reality in football,” he said. “The reality is that there are a lot of moving parts and those change. You have to be able to evaluate and make modifications based on what happens during a season, what your team looks like and so on.”