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Mark Sanchez to start Jets Week 1 preseason game

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Mark Sanchez will start over Geno Smith in the Jets first preseason game.
Don't celebrate just yet, Geno. Sanchez is the starter for preseason Week 1. (USATSI)

Get your (best high-quality throwing) popcorn, kids: Mark Sanchez was named the Jets preseason Week 1 starter by Rex Ryan on Tuesday.

But despite Sanchez -- who was recently booed ... in training camp ... by Jets fans -- getting the nod against the Lions during the preseason affair, Rex also noted that Geno Smith could get some reps with the first team offense as well.

"Mark will start the game," Rex said. "But we'll play Geno with the ones as well. And we'll keep that rotation going so they'll both get reps with the ones. Haven't really decided yet what the play time with the ones will be or snaps and all that."

Ryan, who's also got a running back competition to worry about, noted that things are "even" between Sanchez and Smith.

"It's been an even competition," Ryan said. "We've got rotating days and things like that. Certainly [Mark's] the incumbent. We'll see how it goes from here. It seemed like the natural thing to do."

So here we go again? Ryan said that starting Sanchez "wasn't in concrete" but let's not forget that Sanchez has always been Ryan's guy. He's the one constant in Ryan's tenure in New York, both for good and for bad.

And all reports out of Cortland indicate Sanchez has been outplayed by Smith. We'll get a real test, however, when the two get to square off against Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and the recently drafted Ezekiel Ansah, a formidable pass rush if there was one in the NFL.

"The big is going to be taking that rush," Ryan said when asked what he wanted to see out of his quarterbacks.

I've kind of thought all along that Sanchez would end up winning the Jets starting job if only to let him go down with the captain of the ship and for the whole sacrificial lamb factor. Sanchez now has his chance to secure that starting spot, beginning immediately against Detroit.

 
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