Maybe the Jets aren’t as dumb as they seem.
With quarterback Mark Sanchez looking less and less likely to be ready to play in eight days due to a shoulder injury suffered after he had won the starting job by default, the Jets have lucked into a way to make Geno Smith the starter, pending Sanchez’s return to 100 percent.
If Smith plays poorly, Sanchez will be back to 100 percent sooner rather than later. If Smith plays well, Sanchez won’t be 100 percent for a while. Or until Smith had a few horrible games.
ESPN’s Ed Werder has reported that Sanchez could miss a few weeks. The silence emanating from the team and from Sanchez’s camp had created the clear impression that the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft could miss multiple regular-season games.
For coach Rex Ryan, his chances of returning in 2014 would drop considerably if Smith becomes the starter based on merit — and then gets benched based on lack of merit. While Ryan could start with Sanchez and then flip to Smith if needed, hopeful that the offense shows enough hope with Smith to prompt the Jets to choose continuity, the prospect of making Smith the No. 1 quarterback then dropping him to No. 2 behind Sanchez would make it hard to make the case that a fresh start would be counterproductive.
So Smith will be the starter, until Sanchez is healthy. If Smith struggles, he won’t be getting benched; he’ll be yielding to the man who had won the job in the offseason, training camp, and the preseason.
Of course, if the Jets don’t handle the situation that fell into their laps when Sanchez fell onto the turf with a shoulder injury, then they really are as dumb as they seem.