After some misinterpreted comments, speculation and a strong statement from Mark Sanchez yesterday, it has been learned that New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith will skip Jets West. Mark Sanchez holds an annual camp for Jets players at his high school, Mission Viejo High School, as a chance to get a jump on training camp. Geno Smith, selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, has decided to train in Florida instead.
This situation is an easy one to play up. After originally sparking a firestorm by giving a "no comment," to reporters wondering about Jets West, Geno Smith said that he would attend the summer retreat hosted by New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Jets West started Thursday and Geno Smith wasn't there, instead opting to train in Florida. It is not known at this point if Mark Sanchez did extend an invite to the rookie quarterback gunning for his job.
Of course, this happened one day after Mark Sanchez came out and told everyone that he's prepared for the starting quarterback competition and will win the job over Geno Smith. That makes it pretty easy to piece together a narrative that sets the two Jets quarterbacks at odds heading into training camp, when they will battle it out for the starting job. Especially considering that Geno Smith stated he would attend if invited.
In truth, Geno Smith's absence doesn't say a whole lot. As a rookie, his job isn't to appease the veterans by attending Jets West. The only thing Geno Smith is responsible for this summer is showing up to training camp as ready to perform as he can possibly be. If that means he needs to train in Florida, then that's exactly what he should be doing this week.
Mark Sanchez's job isn't to develop Geno Smith. His job is to also show up to training camp ready to perform at a high level, with some added leadership responsibility compared to Geno Smith. He needs to be just as focused on himself as Geno Smith needs to be self-centered in his training, being that this is a huge season for him in terms of the scope of his NFL career.
Finally, it's important to touch on this once again, as it came up last offseason when the rumored Santonio Holmes tiff with Mark Sanchez centered around the wide receiver's attendance at Jets West. NFL teammates don't have to be buddies anymore than coworkers in other professions. It's beneficial to have a tight knit team, but everyone isn't going to be friends. Respect each other on the field and in the locker room and all is well.
Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith won't be on the field together when the Jets take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week One. They don't need to train together in the offseason and be best friends for the team to be successful this season.