The fans were so disgruntled with his efforts that they cheered any time the Wildcat offense took the field. The Jets organization believed the weakness was due to the coaching staff, so they got overhauled of most of their assistant staff. The truth was that last season was a team effort, and all of the players and all of the organization deserve the blame.
Nevertheless, Rex Ryan is trying to leave last season in the past and focus on having a successful season this year. The biggest decision for the Jets head coach is to decide which quarterback will be starting on gameday. The first option is Mark Sanchez, who has disappointed all expectations as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft.
Ryan benched Sanchez toward the end of last season for poor execution and turning the ball over 32 times throughout the season. The second option is the former West Virginia Mountaineer standout, Geno Smith, who threw for 4,205 yards last season and had a 71.2 completion percentage.
Geno Smith had record-breaking performances, but his execution did drop off at the end of the season.Currently, both players are sharing practice time with the first team (ones) after Thursday night's Green and White scrimmage.
"They'll both get time with ones and twos," Ryan said.
The coaching staff still needs to evaluate both players for reliability, accuracy, and confidence. It is not clear whether Smith is ready to play in the NFL, and it is unclear whether Sanchez has any confidence in his abilities whatsoever. Sanchez has much more experience, and many NFL analysts are picking him to win this quarterback contest. However, Smith has broughts fans to their feet in practice.
"He certainly does show poise," noted Ryan. "There's no question about that." Right now, the entire coaching staff doesn't want to outwardly favorite one player over the other. Training camp drills and conditioning drills are not going to be the deciding factors.
"I don't think you're going to necessarily separate yourself to say, ‘Oh, here's the starter," noted Ryan. "I think you have to get it in the games."
Both quarterbacks have talent, but their decision-making in pressure situations is essential for being a quarterback in the Nation Football League. Sanchez made poor decisions and turned the ball over, while Smith is an unproven rookie, who will make mistakes at first.
Another extremely important factor for the success of either quarterback is the running game. Sanchez thrives on play action plays where he rolls out of the pocket and makes a throw on the run. Smith will also have to rely on the running game because he is a rookie in a very tough league. Therefore, the running back squad must step up their performance to allow the passing game to open up. The Jets lost their star running back Shonn Greene to free agency, so this is a question mark for Gang Green. They picked up Chad Spann, who has been on three different teams in two years. The New Orleans Saints traded Chris Ivory to the Jets on draft day, but he has been experiencing tightness in his hamstring recently.
"When Chris (Ivory) comes back obviously you'll feel a little bit better about our depth," admitted Ryan.
Ivory lived in the shadow of Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram while on the Saints. Hopefully, he can shine on the Jets because the coaching staff plans for him to be their ever-down back to alleviate pressure on whichever quarterback ends up under center in 2013.