Geno Smith will start the Jets' next preseason game over Mark Sanchez. (Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Rookie quarterback Geno Smith will start the New York Jets' preseason game against the Giants on Saturday, coach Rex Ryan told reporters Thursday. The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta reported Tuesday that Smith was expected to start.
Smith and Mark Sanchez have been competing for the team's starting spot, but neither has done enough to claim the job.
Sanchez has been capable in the preseason but hasn't shown any marked improvement. Smith, the team's second-round pick, would seem to offer more upside. There has been speculation the Jets prefer for Smith to win the starting job sooner than later.
NFL.com's Dan Hanzus reported earlier this month that the Jets starter in Saturday's game would “likely” be the quarterback to open the regular season. The third preseason game is traditionally the most important, and teams often use it as a sort of dress rehearsal for the regular season. But Ryan said Thursday, "Right now is not the appropriate time to name a starter (for the regular season)."
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Smith, the former West Virginia star, completed 6 of 7 passes for 47 yards against the Lions in New York's first preseason game. He missed the team's second game with an ankle injury. The rookie from West Virginia is reportedly healthy again and will have a chance to make a strong impression at a critical time in the quarterback competition.