Sanchez to start
Jets coach Rex Ryan has spent weeks watching Mark Sanchez and Kellen Clemens, looking at his quarterbacks’ numbers and film, trying to judge character and potential.
But in the end, he opted to go with his gut.
This morning he called the two into a closed door meeting and told Sanchez the starting job belonged to the rookie. Clemens was disappointed, but told Sanchez, “Take it and run, I’ll be your eyes on the sideline.”
For his part, Sanchez tried to act the part of the starter, showing deference to the veteran he beat out for the job and trying not to seem too giddy.
“As happy as I am, this is only the beginning,” Sanchez said.
The 22-year-old will be a starting quarterback in New York City. Not a bad job for a player fresh out of college. Some of the Jets receivers were already planning a celebratory dinner.
WR David Clowney, who worked with the first team for a while today, said he and Sanchez had developed a little rhythm since they both started with the twos at camp, “but at the same time he has a rhythm with everybody.”
Can Sanchez win?
“We’re going to find out,” said S Kerry Rhodes. “We believe in him. The coaching staff believes in him and the players believe in him. We think we have something special in him.”
FB Tony Richardson pointed out that this year in particular the offensive line and the players surrounding the rookie would have a lot of impact on how well he will play, but yes, Sanchez does have potential.
“It’s unlimited,” TE Dustin Keller said. “He’s got a very strong arm and he can put it anywhere on the field. The possibilities are endless.”
Clemens was still visibly disappointed as he addressed reporters after the afternoon practice before the crowds at Florham Park. He said he wished he’d performed better during camp and key moments.
“I felt like it was close,” Clemens said. “I think that I’m a good quarterback and I can win in this league but I think I needed to work to be more consistent. There were good days but it needed to stay at that level.”
Ryan was insistent that he didn’t just name Sanchez because Clemens had been lackluster.
“Just to say he won by default,” Ryan said, “I think that’s being way too disrespectful to Kellen.”