When you have a true quarterback competition ideally the incumbent starter should get challenged by the new kid on the block. But with ankle injuries hampering both Geno Smith and Greg McElroy New York Jets fans didn't see either player take a single snap.
Mark Sanchez played three full quarters against the Jacksonville Jaguars and to see him perform like he did in this second preseason game and was relatively effective although he did well with a few hiccups.
"I feel like with Geno (Smith) not playing, it was going to go on until he got another shot, I'm sure," said Sanchez of the signal-caller competition. "I don't really worry about it that way. I just want to go out. I felt like we were real close tonight. We were close to breaking things open. I thought we had a great first drive. We got down in the red zone a couple times, so we'll clean up some of those things and keep moving forward. I thought we got into a little rhythm and played well."
The Jets won the coin toss and decided to receive the ball on their first possession and Sanchez attacked the Jaguars defense with confidence. A few strong throws to Stephen Hill and Jeremy Kerley down the field and then a big 23 yard pass to right end Jeff Cumberland who danced around a defender and got inside the end zone for the touchdown.
"We ran the ball a lot better than that first game," noted Sanchez. "We cut back on penalties. That was (a) big emphasis tonight. To play clean. We got down that first drive was exactly what we want. You take the ball, you go down and score. That's a statement."
On New York's next offensive possession, Sanchez continued to look confident and solid with a couple of handoffs to Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory for a few long running plays, but that drive stalled a bit as a pass was tipped and was just over the reach of Hill that became a 30 yard field goal by Billy Cundiff.
Then to finish off his night, Sanchez drove down the field and gave Kahlil Bell a pair of handoffs that led to rushing touchdowns in the third quarter and the Jets were taking care of business in defeating the Jaguars in their preseason home opener.
But there were one or two glaring issues that transpired in the second quarter. Sanchez tossed a red zone interception that was thrown right to defensive back Marcus Trufant for an interception. Then after a punt return that was fumbled by Tobias Palmer and downed at the Jaguars three-yard line, the coaching staff forced Sanchez to make some plays where in fact Rex Ryan should've just brought out the field goal unit to kick a field goal.
So after everything happened Sanchez completed 13 passes out of 23 attempts for 169 yards with a 56.5 percentage. He threw a touchdown and an Interception, but if you think about it Sanchez has led the Jets on four touchdowns scoring drives and thrown two picks in two preseason games.
"Just eliminate a couple mistakes," noted Sanchez. "For the most part I feel like, numbers wise as an offense in general and personally, we're so much better than we were last year. But we just need to keep on building on it and take that next step forward."
At the present moment it looks like No. 6 may have secured his job again as the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. But we shall wait and see what happens after their third preseason game against the New York Giants.