Hours before the Jets and Patriots set football back centuries in a Thursday night slopfest, Mark Sancheztold NFL Network's Rich Eisen that if he hadn't been injured in the preseason, he would be New York's starting quarterback.
"I won the competition," he said. "There's no doubt."
Maybe not in Sanchez's mind, but the revelation was news to coach Rex Ryan, who went to great lengths to not name a starter during the preseason.
"I never said he won the competition," Ryan said in a Friday conference call with reporters, via NFL.com.
"That's his opinion," the coach continued. "It's not about a company line. Apparently, if that's what he said then that's his opinion. Again there is that ongoing competition."
Whether that's true -- that this really is an ongoing competition -- is also up for debate. Rookie Geno Smith has been adequate in two starts, which, frankly, isn't much different than what we've seen from Sanchez in recent seasons. What is different, though, is that Smith was drafted by new general manager John Idzik, and Sanchez is pulling down $8.25 million in guaranteed money this season.
For now, the job seems to be Smith's to lose. Partly because he's played well in spurts, but also because Sanchez remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. For how long remains unknown, although Ryan concedes that Sanchez will return this season.
"If we didn't think it'd be realistic that Mark would get on the field, then he would be put on IR, and that's not the case," Ryan said.
We discussed the Jets' quarterback situation on the latest Eye on Football Podcast, which you can listen to in the audio player above.