Whether it's Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith, New York Jets quarterbacks just can't seem to stay clean on the turnover sheet.
They also can't seem to avoid fumbles involving a butt.
Smith has yet to prove he is much different from Sanchez. Smith has five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) and 11 turnovers (eight interceptions, three fumbles lost). The former starting quarterback compiled 45 touchdowns (39 passing, six rushing) while turning the ball over 52 times (36 interceptions, 16 fumbles lost) from 2011-2012.
It would be easy to pull the plug on the Smith experiment, to say the new model looks too much like the old one, but would that be a step forward, or simply a step to the side?
Well, for starters, it would be too easy to place all the blame at one player after a loss, especially after that player turned the ball over four times in one game.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan isn't ready to do that, though.
REX: We better learn in a hurry. It has to get better...It'll never be on one man. It's on all of us.— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 29, 2013
Don't hold your breath for a new starting quarterback.
Sanchez was put on injured reserve/designated to return, and is out until at least Week 11 with a shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason. That gives Smith another seven weeks to show he has, in fact, improved.
It won't take much for the Jets to part ways with Sanchez -- none of his money is guaranteed after the 2013 season.
Would the team even turn back to Sanchez after his immature handling of the quarterback battle -- when he ran to NFL Network's Rich Eisen to air his opinion on how he won the competition?
Aside from all the drama with Sanchez, Smith has shown both the ability to throw the ball down the field and to make accurate throws. He has yet to show either consistently, but the potential is there.
"Did he -- this particular day -- give us a chance to win?" Rex said after the game. "I mean...I don't think...you know, none of us did."
The rookie was sacked five times and hit several more times behind an offensive line that didn't give him time in the pocket on a consistent basis.
For once, the Jets defense deserves some of the blame for the loss. They yielded four scores on the Titans' six first-half drives, three of which were touchdowns. The Jets haven't allowed 24 points in the first half since last Thanksgiving against the Patriots, and before that, not since December 18, 2011.
Yet there they were on Sunday, being carved up mercilessly by Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who only stopped when he got injured.
Given the other problems with the team -- and the recent history of Sanchez -- there is no guarantee that the team is any better with the veteran as the starter than they are with the rookie.
At least, with Smith, the Jets are building toward something. This is a new quarterback, a new offensive coordinator, new running backs, two new starting guards and all the players trying to learn a new system. A timing-based offense like the West Coast system will take some time to get everyone on the same page.
That's to be expected.
Four turnovers in a game, however, is far from expected or acceptable, and the bottom line is, if it doesn't get cleaned up soon, it won't be too hard to draw the parallels between Sanchez and Smith.
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