Leave it to the Jets to turn their rather meaningless competition at No. 4 QB into a confusing, intriguing adventure. The Jets announced Monday that they had signed Brady Quinn, most recently seen competing for and losing Seattle's backup quarterback job to Tarvaris Jackson. That move meant the end of the line for Graham Harrell, whom the Jets added to their roster all of five days ago.
Quinn's stay could be a short one, too -- the Jets would seem to have needs elsewhere on their roster, and Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and Matt Simms currently hold the top three QB spots on the depth chart. Simms took down Greg McElroy for the third slot with an impressive preseason, which included a 33-for-44 showing against the Eagles last week.
Meanwhile, Quinn turned in a decent preseason of his own, finishing 22-for-38 with a pair of touchdown passes and no interceptions. But the Seahawks opted to roll with two quarterbacks, Russell Wilson and Jackson.
Why the Jets would want to double that number of quarterbacks is somewhat unclear, though Mark Sanchez's shoulder injury may be severe enough to warrant an extra body. Sanchez does not appear as if he'll be ready for Week 1, according to multiple reports, and his absence could extend beyond that.
Of course, that Sanchez injury -- caused by a fourth-quarter hit in a preseason game -- could be somewhat of a blessing in disguise for the New York brass. With the oft-criticized veteran likely out for Week 1, Rex Ryan can turn the offense over to Geno Smith without hesitation.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported over the weekend that more and more people in the Jets' organization were leaning Smith's direction anyway. "The Daily News has learned that Ryan, Idzik and much of the team's key decision-makers are on board with moving on from Mark Sanchez," Mehta wrote. "Despite Sanchez's sharp practices, the brain trust simply doesn't fully trust the fifth-year veteran and have grown tired of his repeated red-zone mistakes, according to sources."
That echoed a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who revealed that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's "vote is for Geno Smith" in the QB race.
"When we feel good about it, we’ll make that decision," Ryan said Friday of when he will make a decision at QB. "Certainly we haven’t put a timetable on it as far as naming a starting quarterback. When we feel good about that decision as an organization, we’ll make it."
Though Sanchez's injury may prove to be a deciding factor, Smith played only two of the team's four preseason games. He sat out Week 2 after injuring his ankle in the opener against Detroit, then was held out last Thursday so as to not jeopardize his health with Sanchez ailing. The Jets' insistence on keeping a fourth QB around may imply lingering concerns over Sanchez's timetable for getting back on the field. Regardless of the reasoning, Quinn's addition simply adds another wrench to an increasingly unsettled situation.