With Geno Smith still battling an ankle injury and with him coming off a brutal practice Wednesday (perhaps the two bits of news are not mutually exclusive), the Jets announced Thursday morning that Mark Sanchez would start Saturday vs. the Jaguars.
Sanchez started the Jets first preseason game vs. the Lions, and after throwing a brutal pick-six on the first series, he settled down and had a solid performance, going 10 of 13 for 125 yards and a touchdown. Smith entered the game next, and though he went 6 for 7, he wasn't quite as effective as Sanchez.
Then, he turned his ankle while scrambling.
At this point, there's no word whether Smith will actually play vs. Jacksonville (if not, that will give Greg McElroy fans extra incentive to watch) -- coach Rex Ryan mentioned it was a possibility that Smith would sit. But Smith is also coming off one of his worst practices.
"It was brutal. It was Geno's worst day,” Ryan said Wednesday. “I think, and obviously, the ankle's part of it, but ... way too many picks and things. Did not look comfortable today. Obviously he has to come back from it, he will come back from it. It was a bad day. Everybody, we've seen it, guys have bad days. But this was a really bad day for Geno.”
Since the first preseason game, some outside observers have wondered whether Smith should even be practicing on his gimpy ankle. But Smith apparently thinks he's improving.
"I've been getting better every single day and every single moment out here on the practice field is an opportunity to learn from it and get better from it,” he said. “We all compete out there. That's what it's about. It's never about me. It's about every guy out there out there and field working hard."
Ryan still maintains that it's too early to say who has taken the lead for the team's starting position, but if Sanchez has another good day against Jacksonville, it seems evident that he'd be the one to take the advantage.
Follow Josh Katzowitz on Google+