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NY Jets To Start QB Geno Smith On Sunday

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Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

The New York Jets announced via their official team Twitter account that they’ll be starting rookie QB Geno Smith against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday.

Smith has been locked in a quarterback battle with Mark Sanchez throughout training camp, and an injury to Sanchez late in the Jets’ third preseason game against the New York Giants paved the way for Smith to be thrust into the starting role. There were rumors that the organization wanted Smith to start all along, and the team will get a chance to see what they have in Smith after selecting him in the second round of the 2013 draft.

"We're going to go with Geno Smith as our quarterback and we are excited about that,” coach Rex Ryan said of Smith. “Learning Marty's system, he really did a tremendous job, as did all the quarterbacks. I think he really fits the system. He's a guy who is very accurate with the football, he has good mobility in the pocket and he's adjusting to the speed of the game."

A source for the New York Post’s Brian Costello says that Mark Sanchez is supposed to be out until Week 3 at the earliest, and Smith could very well have the job locked up for the rest of the season by then if he’s able to perform well in his first two or three outings. While he’s likely to struggle with the lack of weapons on offense and his inexperience playing at the pro level, he has to show just enough to convince the upper brass that he’s “their guy.”

"It's unfortunate that Mark was injured, obviously, but he is working extremely hard to get back,” Ryan said. “But he's just not ready right now. It's similar to last week — we knew he wasn't ready then. He's not ready now and we'll see what the future holds as we move forward.”

There isn’t much confidence in Sanchez, and his days as a starting quarterback may be over. Even LaDanian Tomlinson, one of Sanchez’s former teammates, threw him under the bus on “Mad Dog Radio” on SiriusXM earlier this week.

“I don’t think Mark will be a starter again in the NFL,” Tomlinson said. “I think there’s certainly potential for him to be a backup and then get a starting job for half the year or what have you that way. But I think his days as a full-time starter are pretty much over. Because you’ve got to realize in football, for a quarterback, you’re going to get 3 to 5 years in an organization to prove that you’re the franchise guy. I mean that’s just what it is. And if you don’t do it in that time frame then they’re going to move on to somebody else and then your position now will become a backup.”