The New York Jets' quarterback situation is an unmitigated disaster area.
Starter by default Mark Sanchez, Mr. Butt Fumble, hurt his shoulder when inexplicably playing in garbage time against the New York Giants when Marvin Austin crashed into his right shoulder.
Yes, the Jets won the Snoopy Trophy for beating the Giants, but who cares?
And prize rookie quarterback Geno Smith fumbled his chance to unseat Sanchez. He was intercepted three times, displaying an ineptitude and rawness that can't be denied by general manager John Idzik. Smith even ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety.
Jets coach Rex Ryan made a bone-headed decision to put Sanchez into the game in the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game with backups blocking for him.
Sanchez has been X-rayed and undergos a magnetic resonance imaging exam today.
Ryan acted bizarrely during his press conference, at one point turning his back to a reporter.
“We will make the announcement of the starting quarterback when we think it’s the appropriate time,” Ryan said. “Not when you, not when this person, or this person, or this person (thinks it’s time),” Ryan said. “I can say anything I want, beauty of this country.”
There was no beauty in Smith's performance: 16 of 30 for 199 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions and a safety for a 45.7 quarterback rating. Against the starters, he had a 34.8 rating.
Sanchez has 26 turnovers in each of the past two seasons.
“As long as Rex and the committee are evaluating us, I think I have a shot,” Smith said. “I don’t think one game, one practice, one day will tell you the type of quarterback I am. I think it takes a ton of evaluation, which is being done.”
Why play Sanchez, though?
“That was my decision,” Ryan said. “That was Coach’s decision all the way. If it wasn’t important, then I wouldn’t have put him in there. I would have not put Mark in there if it wasn’t important.”
How is a preseason game important?
“Well, after the injury you always have reservations,” Ryan acknowledged. I understand being second-guessed and stuff when an injury happens — certainly I understand that — but that's football.”
The Jets obviously want Smith to win the job, but he squandered the opportunity. Now, they might not even have Sanchez available to stand in until Smith is judged ready.
What a disaster.
“That's an assumption on your part,” Ryan said. “We'll make a call on the starting quarterback when we think it's appropriate.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.