Once the New York Jets drafted Geno Smith with the No. 39 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, the story has been Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith for the starting quarterback job. David Garrard ended his comeback bid soon after, narrowing the focus of the spotlight engulfing the two quarterbacks. While the actual competition may end up being more hype than anything, much like the controversy at quarterback created by the presence of Tim Tebow last season, Mark Sanchez claims that he is more than ready to take on Geno Smith and ultimately win the job.
The rhetoric has been heard from New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez plenty of times before. First he's taking a hard stance on his own performance and promising to do better, then there's all of the quotes from others about him and the quarterback situation, whether Sanchez is being characterized as entitled and lazy, wants to be "Hollywood," is the favorite amongst the players in the locker room or the rest of the team is ready to see someone else under center.
Now it's not an unnamed teammate – nor any teammate – making the statement. It's not Mark Sanchez reflecting on his past performance. It's a direct statement about beating out Geno Smith, via ESPN New York:
"When it's a straight-up competition for the job, let's roll," the embattled Sanchez said in a recent sitdown with ESPNNewYork.com. "It really doesn't bother me at all. It really doesn't affect my confidence or anything like that. We're competing for something. All right, I'm going to win. That's just how I am."
But is it still just talk?
Too early to tell right now, but the real talking will be done on the field. It will be done by Mark Sanchez in the defense of his job against the much-hyped, but likely not ready Geno Smith, and against the other NFL teams on the Jets schedule for 2013. Ultimately, that's what Jets fans want from both their quarterback and their team: less talk, more action.
Geno Smith isn't ready to lead an NFL team. If he's playing, and Mark Sanchez is healthy, it's a very bad sign for Jets fans in regards to the 2013 season. Mark Sanchez should win this job by default once again, at least until he proves beyond repair or the team falls out of playoff contention. Confidence is great, but is it confidence in his own ability or is it comfort created by a rookie quarterback being the only threat to his job?