Time for these to be Geno's Jets

Rex Ryan would be wise to name Geno Smith the starting quarterback
08/20/2013 4:50 PM ET
By Doug Williams

It would be best for the Jets to have Mark Sanchez behind Geno Smith this season.(AP)
Sometimes bad teams get all the attention.

The New York Jets are a perfect example of that. They are clearly the second-best team in New York, and yet they receive much more attention in the media than the Giants because of two magic words.

Quarterback competition.

Let's be honest, the Jets aren't going to win eight games. They have no offensive weapons, a terrible offensive line, and a questionable defense. So, whether it's his fault or not, this is Rex Ryan's last year as their head coach.

And here's the thing about New York: even if the Jets somehow start the season at 4-4, those four losses will be treated as if the wins never happened. The coach and the starting quarterback will be torn apart even if the Jets have a surprisingly good start.

So assuming that the Jets won't be very good, I see no reason NOT to start Geno Smith. The problem with Mark Sanchez is simple: every time they lose, he will be blamed. It has nothing to do with how he plays, but everything to do with the fact that Jets fans don't even root for him.

Why? Because he refuses to confront reality. This preseason, his fate has been in his own hands. If he could have played well, we wouldn't even be talking about this anymore. But when he's asked, all he says is how happy he is with how he's playing.

If Sanchez took a different approach and admitted that he hasn't been great, that would be a start. It's good for athletes to be confident, but when you think you're doing well and everyone else disagrees, that's a problem.

And Jets fans will be the first ones to let you know how you're really doing.

One of the most important aspects of being a rebuilding team is patience -- both from the fans and the organization. But it's hard for both parties to be patient when the boo birds fly after every non-scoring drive all season.

The way around that is for the Jets to give Smith a chance. Fans will be more patient with him. He's young, and he's the future. Every mistake he makes may make him better. If he ends up being great, then you struck a jackpot. If he ends up being a fresh talent who is a work in progress, then you're giving him valuable experience.

That situation also benefits Sanchez, though. Every year it seems Ryan names Sanchez the starter because he's the safe, experienced option. Maybe that allows Sanchez to become complacent as he expects to start. But a demotion might light a fire under Sanchez. And if Smith is terrible, maybe the Jets fans will be calling Sanchez's name -- which would be nice for a change. And that could boost his confidence as well.

I don't have a solution for Rex Ryan, because I think he's out either way. But if Sanchez starts, they will be thrown into this impossible situation together. It's a bad team, but the head coach and quarterback will be blamed for the failures on all sides of the ball. Starting Smith is the best way to make fans happy and excited and could potentially be the best way to save Mark Sanchez's career.

Or the Jets could just start Chris Simms, because he's looked pretty good and has a decent New York pedigree.

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