Mark Sanchez is not starting for the New York Jets against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. If you want to believe his shoulder injury is the reason for that, that’s your prerogative. The truth of the matter is the Jets’ brass is ready to move on from the Sanchez era, and Geno Smith brings a fresh face and a small ray of optimism if nothing else.
Sanchez’s shoulder injury itself has been met with some controversy. Rex Ryan made the decision to put him into the final preseason game after Smith threw three interceptions, and many feel that was a dumb idea. But Jets owner Woody Johnson believes Sanchez needs to take some accountability for getting injured.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Johnson said, via the NY Daily News. “He’s an experienced guy. I wish he hadn’t gotten hurt, but you got to protect yourself, too.”
Sanchez had three defensive players in his face (video below) when he tried to make a play, so I don’t see how he could have protected himself better. Completely giving up on the play wasn’t an option, especially since he was trying to prove that he still deserves to be the team’s starter. Ryan, who was once Sanchez’s biggest supporter, would not say he disagreed with Johnson.
“It’s 100% injury rate in the league,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened. But these things do happen. And we’ve moved on.”
Johnson later backtracked and claimed his initial quote was misunderstood.
“I may have said or I’ve been accused of saying that Sanchez’s injury was his fault,” he said. “That was not my intent at all. Of course, it wasn’t his fault. He was trying to make a play.”
At this point, I don’t even know who is defending who. By saying the injury was Sanchez’s fault, I guess you could argue that Johnson is defending Rex’s decision to put him in. The bottom line is the Jets desperately want Smith to prove he is a capable starter. The more quarterback changes we see, the more animated press conferences we will get from Rex. That’s a good thing for us, but it’s bad for the team as well as Ryan’s future in New York.