Mark Sanchez didn’t do such a good job of protecting the football during the 2012 season. The fourth-year quarterback tossed 18 interceptions and led the NFL with 26 turnovers. Four months later, not much has changed.
During Wednesday’s OTA, Sanchez attempted a combined 11 pass attempts during the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 workouts and three of them were caught by defenders. Geno Smith, his main competition for the starting role, was intercepted once.
“Today, obviously, I was not happy with how many times we turned the ball over,” Ryan said. “We had four interceptions and a fumble, I believe. …Protecting the football over anything else, that's what we have to get better at. We know it. Today was a disappointment as far as that's concerned.”
Though Smith has only been on the roster for a month, he understands that for the team to be successful, they’ll have to take care of the football.
“You got to take care of the ball,” the first-year quarterback said. “As a quarterback, as an offense, you don’t want to turn the ball over. That puts the defense in tough situations and it limits your chances to score, so you’ve just got to take care of the ball.”
Ryan stressed the importance of limiting turnovers and emphasized that it is one of his main concerns. The ability to take care of the football will play a deciding factor for which quarterback gets the nod for the starting role in September.
"I think it’s a huge issue for our football team,” Ryan said. “Obviously, at that position, you have to protect the football. You're going to have the ball in your hands during every snap on offense … So as we look at it, absolutely, that will be weighted into the decision for who will play quarterback."
Though he didn’t comment on quarterback David Garrard’s retirement specifically, he did note that the retirement of a quarterback expected to contend for the starting position has altered the quarterback landscape during these workouts.
"The good thing, I think about the timing of this specifically, was that it happens early enough where now the reps are dispersed between two guys where maybe the (reps) might have been dispersed differently,” Ryan said.