Is Five Games Enough?



Begley By Ian Begley

We don't need to commission an independent investigator to find out what went wrong in the Jets' QB competition.

The answer here is simple: Rex Ryan made a mistake. A bad one. And he left the Jets' quarterback situation in disarray.

Ryan, you might remember, inserted Mark Sanchez into the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game Saturday. Sanchez, predictably, got hurt. Now, his availability for the season opener is in question.

Had Ryan not elected to play Sanchez in the fourth quarter Saturday against the Giants, the quarterback situation would be settled right now.

Geno Smith threw three picks in the first half and stepped out of bounds for a safety. That kind of performance was unsettling, but not totally surprising.

Smith, after all, was making the first start of his NFL career. What he revealed in that first half against the Giants was that he isn't ready to start in the NFL.

Ryan, Woody Johnson and everyone else who watched Smith play on Saturday had to come to that conclusion. And there's nothing wrong with that, because the Jets had a healthy Sanchez available to start Week 1.

Why put Sanchez's health in jeopardy? Ryan said he played Sanchez because he wanted to win the game, but in the process he lost his presumptive Week 1 starter.

Granted, neither Smith nor Sanchez is going to light the world on fire, but it didn't have to be this hard for the Jets -- or for Ryan -- to figure out their QB conundrum.

If Ryan just kept Sanchez on the bench Saturday night, everything would be settled. Instead, we get chaos. Typical Jets.


Marchand By Andrew Marchand

What is the going rate for multimillionaire pitchers to take a free shot at Alex Rodriguez?

Apparently it's $2,500 and no missed starts.

Well, that should deter opponents who have issues with A-Rod, right?

I don't think so.

By setting the precedent that -- to use baseball's official language from its press release -- "intentionally throwing at and hitting Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees" won't cost a pitcher a start and means only the loss of some pocket change, other players could be encouraged to go for some frontier justice of their own.

MLB has set the bar and it is not a high one.

When a player is suspended for an on-the-field issue, he essentially receives a paid vacation.

Ryan Dempster will not lose anything from the $13.25 million salary he receives in twice-monthly checks. Just a measly $2,500, which bought him a standing ovation from misguided Boston fans as he left what would be a seven-earned-run performance on Sunday.

A-Rod might not be targeted again, but there is not much of a deterrent to prevent it, at least based on MLB's Tuesday ruling.


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