Who's more QB baffled?



Cimini By Rich Cimini

Rex Ryan is deservedly getting hammered for his irresponsible decision to play Mark Sanchez with the backups in Saturday's preseason game against the Giants, leading to a shoulder injury. But general manager John Idzik is just as culpable as Ryan for butt-fumbling this so-called competition.

The difference is that Idzik hides in his bunker, avoiding the media, while Ryan faces the firing squad on almost a daily basis.

Ironically, Idzik, who arrived on the scene in January with the intention of sending the circus out of town, has brought back the big top by mismanaging the most important position on the roster. We should've known this was a doomed plan when he decided to keep Tim Tebow until late April, creating an unnecessary distraction while clinging to the crazy notion he could actually swing a trade for the world's most famous punt protector.

It also was Idzik's idea in March to sign veteran David Garrard, pronouncing him a viable candidate for the starting job. Privately, the Jets actually thought Garrard, who hadn't played in two years because of injuries, could unseat Sanchez.

That folly lasted two months, ending when Garrard retired because of a chronic knee condition that caused unbearable pain.

Idzik drafted Geno Smith in the second round -- a sound move -- but the organization's blind desire to make him the starter led to two bad decisions. The Jets made him practice on a sprained ankle instead of giving him a couple of days off, causing him to miss the second preseason game. They exacerbated the situation by starting him Saturday night, hoping he'd pull a Russell Wilson and seize the starting job from Sanchez.

The outcome was predictable. Smith showed his lack of experience with three interceptions and a brain cramp that resulted in a safety, a tremendous setback for him and the team. The Jets wasted the third preseason game on an ill-conceived experiment, robbing Sanchez and the other starters of their best opportunity of the preseason to build chemistry.


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.


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