Report: Mark Sanchez Has ‘Firm Grip’ on Jets Starting Quarterback Role As Geno Smith Struggled During Offseason

Mark Sanchez, Greg McElroy, Tony SparanoIt looks like it will be another year of watching Mark Sanchez under center in the Meadowlands.

Sanchez has a “firm grip” on the starting role at quarterback, according to Don Banks of Sports Illustrated. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News confirms Banks’ report, saying it’s unlikely rookie Geno Smith will be starting Week 1, but that he’ll get a chance to play if and when the Jets fall out of playoff contention.

Banks writes that Smith struggled with “snap count at the line of scrimmage and huddle presence” during OTAs and minicamp. Smith was widely regarded as the best quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft. He was the second signal caller off the board after Florida State’s E.J. Manuel. The Jets selected Smith No. 39 overall.

New York finished 6-9 in 2012 with Sanchez under center. The Jets lost Greg McElroy‘s only start at quarterback.

Sanchez had his worst season as a pro in 2012, throwing 18 interceptions and fumbling 14 times (one of which was far more memorable and “buttfumbly” than the rest). He completed just 54.3 percent of his passes — his worst clip since his rookie season. Sanchez will be running Marty Mornhinweg‘s west coast offense this season, which relies on short passes, precision and timing. And not butt fumbling.

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