Marty Mornhinweg to Geno Smith: Turn it Loose

Usually preseason games don't have a lot riding on them, but this is not the case for the New York Jets. With Mark Sanchez taking the backseat to Geno Smith this week, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is calling on the rookie to "turn it loose."

The spotlight is shining bright on the quarterbacks this week, as Geno Smith makes his first start while wearing Green and White. The second-round draft pick out of West Virginia got the nod from New York to start the Week 3 preseason game against the Giants. With Sanchez starting the past two games, and Geno missing all of Week 2 due to injury, the rookie will have a shot at taking the lead in this years' signal-caller battle.

So far, neither Sanchez nor Smith have taken a stranglehold on starter job. Gang Green's new offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, has been pleased with both of their performances.

"Geno's had an outstanding camp for a rookie and he's just had a little bit more than a couple of plays in a preseason game," said Mornhinweg. "So, we'll see what happens in this next ball game. Certainly Mark, we have a good evaluation on him. I think I know exactly where Mark's at. There's no question that I think we can do some very good things with Mark. (I) don't quite know where Geno's at yet, even though we might think we know."

Marty continued to talk more about the competition with reporters after Thursday's practice.

"I feel pretty good about where Mark is," noted Mornhinweg. "He has really worked hard now, both on the field and off to get himself to this point. I think just with a little more time and reps within this system, I think that we can certainly do some good things with Mark."

As for Smith, Mornhinweg offered some high praise as well.

"You have Geno, highly talented, has worked diligently to get himself to this point, and we'll see more here in this ball game, but (is) highly talented, sharp, athletic and just simply lacks experience," noted Mornhinweg. "He's only had a handful of plays in a preseason game."

Geno will gain some much needed experience this weekend against a tough Giants' defense, but it may not be enough to hand him the keys to the offense."

Smith needs to impress his coaches on Saturday and Mornhinweg knows exactly what he wants to see from him.

"I want to see him play," said the Jets' new offensive coordinator. "Hopefully, he'll get the chance to turn it loose and let his natural abilities show up, and his natural style. I think and I almost know that he's worked so hard that he's there mentally. The worst thing that can happen to any player is that they're playing with hesitation because they don't quite know, and we want our players to play with that thought that they're unafraid to make a mistake."

Gang Green has put an added emphasis on ball security heading into the 2013 regular season. Smith will need to play to his strengths and play smart, in order to put himself in position to take the starting job out of Sanchez's hands.

With Week 4 of the preseason inconsequential and most starters resting for their regular season debuts, judgment day is on August 24th at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants. Whether the starter will be the inexperienced rookie, or the inconsistent veteran, Saturday night's game will go a long way in determining who is under center against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the regular season opener.

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