If it wasn't clear that the New York Jets were done with Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback, it's crystal clear now.
The Jets placed the former starting quarterback on injured reserve/designated to return with a torn labrum.
The Jets have placed QB Mark Sanchez on Injured Reserve, Designated for Return: http://t.co/jqshBTj1V1— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 14, 2013
The Jets stuck with Sanchez through two troubled years (2011-2012) in which he finished with the third-worst passer rating for any starting quarterback and a league-worst 52 turnovers. That might have been reason enough to cut him prior to the 2013 season, but Sanchez's contract made that impossible; according to Spotrac, the Jets are paying him $12,853,125 this year, but would have had to pay $17,653,125 to cut him.
His 2013 season isn't officially over, as there's a chance he could return, but he can't practice for six weeks, and can't play for another two weeks after that, which puts him back in Week 11 against the Bills.
At that point, one of two things will have happened: either the Jets will have bottomed out, and have no reason to turn back to Sanchez, or they'll be in the mix for a playoff spot, and have no reason to turn back to Sanchez.
Part of the reason for the decision may have been to eliminate a potential distraction. Sanchez has recently become more outspoken, and told NFL Network's Rich Eisen on Thursday that he felt he had "won the competition...it was a done deal."
Then, on Friday -- less than 24 hours after those comments and less than 24 hours prior to placing Sanchez on IR/DFR -- Jets head coach Rex Ryan denied having ever told Sanchez that he won the competition. In the same breath, Rex continued to call it an "ongoing" competition and called it "realistic" that Sanchez could play again this season.
"If we didnít think itíd be realistic that Mark would get on the field, then he would be put on IR," he said, "and thatís not the case."
Well, it is now.
Rookie Geno Smith is the starter -- de facto or otherwise -- and he will remain as such at least until Sanchez is ready to return to action, but there's no reason to believe the Jets would go back to Sanchez at this point. Judging by his preseason performance, nothing had changed for Sanchez.
Geno hasn't been incredibly convincing in his bid to "win" the starting job in the first two regular season games, completing just 53.4 percent of his throws, taking a league-high nine sacks, and needing a bone-headed late-game mistake from Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David to sneak out a Week 1 win.
None of that really matters, though, because we've already seen what Sanchez has to offer, and it's comparable to the worst quarterbacks in the league. Unless Geno morphs into a similarly dreadful quarterback sometime in the next eight weeks, there's no reason to think Sanchez will get his chance any time soon.
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