Sanchez analysis: Jets in damage control

Takeaways on the Jets’ decision to place QB Mark Sanchez on short-term injured reserve (eight weeks):

1. Covering their butts: I think the Jets waited three weeks to put him on IR in an attempt to distance themselves from the irresponsible decision to play Sanchez in the fourth quarter of a preseason game, resulting in his shoulder injury. No matter how they try to spin it, it was a reckless move. It would’ve looked worse if they had placed him immediately on IR. Now they’re trying to convince everyone that the “day-to-day” scenario was real and that they actually believed there was a chance he would return quickly. It’s damage control. They knew this was more than a bruise as soon as they saw the first MRI.

2. Not done yet: The Jets must be reasonably confident Sanchez will be healthy enough in two months to play again. Under the “designated for return” rule, each team is allowed to remove one player from injured reserve. Sanchez is that guy.

3. Still useful: Thursday night was a reminder the season probably will be a roller-coaster ride with rookie Geno Smith. Matt Simms (no NFL experience) and Brady Quinn (four career wins as a starter) are hardly ironclad insurance policies. Sanchez might not be the “franchise” QB anymore, but he’s still the best on the roster. This move shows the organization still sees that value in Sanchez. Or maybe the Jets don’t want to shut him down for the season because the decision-makers have a guilty conscience for getting him hurt.

4. Long live the competition: Even without Sanchez for two months, general manager John Idzik refused to commit to Smith as the permanent quarterback. Idzik lives by his “competition” mantra even though, in this particular case, it’s just semantics. You think Smith is worried about losing his job to Simms or Quinn? Of course not, but Idzik refuses to bend his philosophy -- the same philosophy that got Sanchez hurt in the first place.