Mark Sanchez has been described as having “a leg up” in the Jets’ quarterback competition. But that won’t mean a thing after the first play of the first practice when offseason work begins.
Ryan said today that Sanchez will be penciled in as the first quarterback on the depth chart when practice starts, but any other quarterback on the roster has a chance of unseating him.
“I look at it this way: The competition’s the big thing,” Ryan said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “There is going to be competition at that position. There is no doubt. A leg up? Somebody has to take the first snap. So that’s kind of how I look at it. But there is definitely competition at that spot. The first snap, he’ll be the guy running out there first. . . . Somebody’s got to take it.”
That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement — not the same kind of endorsement Ryan gave Sanchez a year ago, when Ryan insisted that Tim Tebow was brought in to be Sanchez’s backup, rather than to compete with Sanchez for the starting job.
Speaking of Tebow, although everyone assumes Tebow will be released before the season, and probably before offseason work begins, Ryan wasn’t willing to confirm that.
“He’s on the roster,” Ryan said of Tebow. “He’ll get a chance to compete . . . currently Tim and a whole bunch of other guys are on the roster.”
At the moment, it appears that the quarterback competition for the Jets consists of Sanchez and David Garrard, with Greg McElroy a long shot, Tebow almost certainly not in the mix and Matt Simms on the team as a camp arm. Free agent Kevin Kolb may be signed as well, although Ryan wouldn’t offer any specific thoughts about that possibility.
“If we think that will help the competition, then I’m sure it’ll be something we’ll look into,” Ryan said. “I haven’t seen Kevin . . . Is that a possibility? I’m not sure.”
Ryan said the one thing he’s sure about is that the Jets will be better at quarterback this year than they were last year.
“I’m confident that we’re going to improve,” Ryan said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt. I think that position will play much better.”
For that to be the case, the Jets may need someone other than Sanchez to be taking the snaps beyond the first play of the first offseason practice.