New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been given the nod to start in the team's preseason home opener vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night, according to news first announced via the team's Twitter feed Thursday morning.
The fifth-year veteran is a career 55-percent passer but completed 77 percent of his throws in a 26-17 loss at Ford Field against the Detroit Lions last week. He said he felt good throughout training camp and believes the team became "a little more consistent" over the past few weeks, according to a report Thursday from NewYorkJets.com reporter Eric Allen:
“I felt good throughout the duration of camp. I thought I threw the ball well. I was accurate, I did my best to take care of the ball and move the team down the field. I thought we did that really well in spurts. I thought we got a little more consistent as things went on. We just have to keep improving.”
News on Thursday of Sanchez getting the start comes one day after head coach Rex Ryan ripped rookie quarterback Geno Smith for having a "brutal" practice. The former West Virginia standout had shown some promise last week vs. the Lions by completing six of seven passes, but earlier this week was limited by an ankle heavily wrapped in tape. On Wednesday, he practiced without tape but threw four interceptions. Ryan said it was Smith's "worst day, obviously," according to Ed Werder of ESPN:
"It was brutal. That was Geno's worst day, obviously.The ankle is part of it. That's way too many picks. He didn't look comfortable today. It was a bad day. ... We've seen guys have bad days, but this was a really bad day."
The Jets return to the practice field in Cortland, N.Y., on Thursday and kick off their regular season Sept. 8 with a home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.