There are positives and negatives to either decision, but Jets center Nick Mangold recently said he thinks Sanchez gives the team the best chance to win, and he doesn't think he's alone.
“I believe so," he told the New York Post. "I haven’t walked around with a pen and paper and taken a poll, but from the feeling I get, the locker room wants to win. Whoever gives us the best chance to do that, we want out there -- and at this point, Mark gives us that best chance."
Mangold may be right, but he's not the one charged with making that decision: that's head coach Rex Ryan's responsibility.
Rex has been known as a player's coach in the past, but with his job potentially on the line, he needs to make the decision that's best for the team, not best for his center or best for the morale of his players.
If Rex makes the right decision, and the Jets are winning, team morale will be just fine.
Sanchez has earned a majority of the first-team snaps in practice, according to ESPN, but neither he nor Geno Smith have done anything spectacular to separate themselves.
The Jets are introducing the West Coast offense under coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, and while Sanchez has experience in the system at USC, the learning curve has been steep for the rookie, Smith.
"His system at West Virginia, there’s no similarities there whatsoever," quarterback coach David Lee said on Wednesday, adding, "It’s been a brand-new world every day, just struggling with the basic things."
There's plenty of time for that to change, but even if Smith hasn't learned the offense by Week 1, there's no need to rush him in, as there will likely be an assimilation period for the offense as a whole, as players get used to a new system as well as new teammates. The Jets will field two new starting guards, a new starting tight end and a new top running back in 2013.
The receivers have been a question mark this offseason, as well.
Stephen Hill needs to grow in his second year and quit dropping easy passes (dropped six passes according to Pro Football Focus). Santonio Holmes is in a contract year and is returning from a season-ending Lisfranc injury. Jeremy Kerley came into his own as the top receiving option on the roster last year, but he needs to have another big year to prove that wasn't a fluke. He's up for a new contract after the 2014 season.
Much like the quarterback position, wide receiver is a spot where the Jets are surrounded with long-term questions.
"Coaches brought [Sanchez] back and they kept him on this team for a reason," Holmes said, via ESPN. "He's a great leader and he's got great potential and he's excited about this season upcoming, and so am I."
Of course, the Jets may have brought Sanchez back for his $12.85 million cap hit in 2013, and the $17.15 million in dead money that would result from cutting him.
Make no mistake; after turning the ball over a league-leading 52 times over the past two years, this has to be Sanchez's last shot to prove himself as the starter. With Geno Smith in the fold, they got an early start on their new beginning.
When that new beginning comes should be decided by Rex and the coaching staff, not by the players.
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