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EA Q&A: Is Sanchez the Slight Favorite?

Posted Jul 22, 2013

Chris
West Virginia

Q: Who do you think will start?  Mark or Geno?

EA: As we approach training camp, Rex Ryan told everyone where the QB race stands with this recent quote that was published in the Wall Street Journal.

"If we played tomorrow, we'd go with Sanchez,” he said.   “But we're not.”

There is a prevailing notion out there that Sanchez will be the Green & White’s Week 1 starter vs. the Buccaneers, but that Smith will be ready to take over the offense later in the season. 

My belief is this is truly wide open.

Sanchez has a few clear check marks in his favor in regards to pro experience and more familiarity with the system and personnel.  But Smith has at least equal the arm talent and his athleticism would give the Jets more offensive options with pistol and wildcat packages. 

Certainly there is a possibility to follow the 49ers model with Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick as 'Frisco slowly worked in the wildly talented Kaepernick with those special packages.   And this example makes sense considering one could argue that two of the Jets’ strengths are their lines and that is where the 49ers solidified themselves when their resurgence began. 

With the Jets facing major questions at both wide receiver and tight end, Smith’s diversified skill-set is attractive.  He has 4.5 speed and appears to be a natural throwing the ball on the move.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg told me that the spring was a “passing camp” and now we’ll get to see what the Jets rush attack looks like at SUNY Cortland.  My hunch is the ground game will be formidable because the Green & White have upgraded at both offensive line and running back.  Sanchez has had success with play-action in the past and an improved run game could mean we see more of that.  

The transition for Smith from a shotgun spread to the West Coast is a huge challenge and QB David Lee said “footwork” is gigantic for the rookie.  I expect to see a more polished Smith in the weeks ahead and I like his even temperament thus far.

“I feel like I have a great shot,” Smith told the Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette over the weekend. “I did a pretty good job overall of just adapting to the system and playbook and felt very comfortable with it by the end of OTAs and mandatory (minicamp).”

Both QBs may have difficulty throwing the ball in the summer because the Jets have great depth at CB and unsettled situations at WR — with Santonio Holmes on the mend — and TE.  Sanchez has to avoid the turnover at all costs because he can’t possibly win this job if he continues to give the ball away.   Meanwhile Smith has to continue to avoid big mistakes and that is something he did — albeit on the collegiate level — at West Virginia.

So give Sanchez a 50.1% chance and Smith a 49,9% chance, but that could change by the weekend.  And who gets the edge in case of tie?

One could argue that Sanchez might be the guy because there is the danger of throwing a rookie into the fire a bit early minus a ton of weapons.  

The Jets were fortunate Smith was there in the second round because 1.) Geno is a first round talent and 2.) There is no pressure to play him. 

Overall it’s a push.  I just don’t see an edge. 

Robert Martish
Johnstown, NY
Q:
While everyone asks about our QB situation, I want to know how we are going to get our front line ready?  It seems that we struggled with giving our QB time.

EA: The line has been fortified. 

C Nick Mangold and LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson remain two of the best at their respective positions and the Jets are high on emerging RT Austin Howard.  The club has made a shift at guard and former Steeler Willie Colon will be a huge steal if he can stay healthy.  If former Lion Stephen Peterman fends off a hard-charging Brian Winters, expect Colon to play LG and Peterman to line up at RG.  But if Winters, a third round-pick from Ken State, isn’t to be denied, I would think Colon lines up at RG and Winters would be stationed between Mangold and Ferguson.   

Rookie Oday Aboushi, a fifth round-selection from Virginia, provides value as a reserve swing tackle, Dalton Freeman, an undrafted signee from Clemson, impressed in the spring and will push for a roster spot behind Nick Mangold, veterans Vladimir Ducasse and Caleb Schlauderaff give some depth on the interior and Michigan product Will Campbell, a sixth round-pick from Michigan, bears watching as he makes the transition back to the offense.

Ed Valtensberg
Q: Can you explain to me how/why Grey McElroy is not in the competition for a starting job and training camp has not even started?

EA: Jets QB Coach David Lee was asked why McElroy and Matt Simms weren’t part of the competition and he said, “I just think the other two are ahead of them.”

McElroy, who made his first NFL start in December against San Diego and was sacked 11 times, now will fight for the No. 3 job.

Greg McElroy’s strength is that he’s smart, he learns fast,” Lee said.  “He’s got to put the ball down the field. I don’t mean he’s checked it down too much, but if it’s not just perfect for him he’ll run it.”

John Mulrian
Middletown, NJ
Q:
Do you think the Jets might sign back WR Braylon Edwards?

EA: I think the Jets are going to kick the tires on a number of receivers.  Edwards, Brandon Lloyd, Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie are all interesting names still on the market.  The roster is ever-evolving.

Jamie Bryant
New Sharon, ME

Q: Following Revis's injury, Cromartie established himself again as one of the leagues’ premier corners, but Wilson also showed improvement. Will Milliner be able to win the spot opposite Cromartie?

EA: In reality, you start three cornerbacks because you are almost always in sub packages.  The Jets think Milliner has “special” ability and they have praised Wilson for a stellar offseason, so it’s a good situation to have.  I think it is more likely Milliner goes outside and Wilson shifts back inside to the nickel role.  From top to bottom, the Green & White have one of the most talented CB depth charts in the NFL.

Ira
Madison, NJ

Q:  just made a big bet with my nephew who is a huge Jets fan, but very depressed about the seasons prospects due to lack of talented players at the skill positions. For me to win the bet, the Jets have to win three regular season games. I figure this is the bet of the year. What do you think?

EA: How can I get some of that action?  I wouldn’t be floored if the Jets started 3-1.

Brian
Palm Coast, FL

What is your opinion on Alabama QB AJ McCarron?  He seems to be a very consistent, accurate QB who can make the down field throws and has a proven track record of winning during big games. He seems to be a franchise player for years to come. Any chance that if Geno doesn't perform as expected this season, the Jets look into drafting McCarron?

EA: I like McCarron.  WAY too early for a scouting report there.  But on your last point, I will say the Jets won’t be restricted from drafting a QB in any way if they bottom out in 2013.  We all hope that doesn’t happen.  I would rather talk about the players on this roster rather than Johnny Manziel (interesting offseason for the Heisman Trophy Winner), Teddy Brigewater (he ran roughshod over my Gators) or McCaron (dude is going for his third National Championship but LSU head coach Les Miles is not happy about those SEC scheduling quirks).

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