The New York Jets’ quarterback drama continued Thursday, this time with injured quarterback Mark Sanchez running his mouth once again.
The Jets certainly aren’t shy about sharing their opinions, and a clearly frustrated Sanchez gave reporters a new target to aim at. In an interview with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, Sanchez backed up an earlier personal sentiment that he had won the starting quarterback job — something he seemed surprised about having to compete for in the first place, despite his struggles last season — over rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
“I won the competition. There’s no doubt,” Sanchez told Eisen.
This is not exactly the message the Jets want to send their rookie quarterback, who threw for 256 yards and touchdown and rushed for 47 yards on six carries in the Jets’ 18-17 comeback victory over Tampa Bay last Sunday, just hours before he takes the field for a nationally televised game against their rival New England Patriots in Foxboro. Still, Eisen tweeted that “Sanchez said he is eager to be there for Geno.”
Adding to the report, Sanchez denied needing season-ending surgery for the torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, despite what esteemed surgeon Dr. James Andrews told reporters Thursday. Instead, Sanchez told Eisen that doctors are “pleasantly surprised” by his “progress,” and that the plan is to rehab and “get back on the field” for the Jets this season. Sanchez also added that his rehab from a previous shoulder injury is helping his strength now, and he refused to admit whether or not his shoulder was actually even torn.
“I really can’t get into that part,” he said.
While Sanchez’s remarks beg the questions of which doctors he is referring to and if the Jets will even allow him to play should he rehab and come back this season, the real question is whether or not Smith can shake off the news and perform in his first career Thursday Night Football game, a true test for the first-year slinger.