Beginning in 2010, the Jets’ starting quarterback Mark Sanchez hosted “Jets West.” These Sanchez-led workouts held at Mark’s high school alma mater are meant to bring offensive players together to work on the West Coast style offense that they have been sporting. Some offensive starters make their way to the camp, but, as the workouts are voluntary, some do choose to stay back and prepare for the season in their own ways. Sanchez has asserted that everyone is welcome at the camp and that there is no ill-will to those who choose not to attend.
“Everyone was invited….I sent out an email to everybody, some guys got back quicker than the others, but everybody was invited. It’s not a big deal that he is not here.”
The “he” Sanchez is talking about is also Sanchez’s competition for the starting quarterback position: Geno Smith. Honestly, who can blame Smith for not wanting to go to Sanchez’s camp. For one thing, the workouts are at a place Sanchez is (presumably) incredibly comfortable which allows him to perform at a high level. Additionally, Smith would most likely not want to take part in practices at which he would need to take direction from Sanchez, making him a lesser leader in the eyes of all players in attendance.
However, there are also reasons in favor of Smith heading out to Jets West. The most obvious reason being that the workouts would be the perfect chance for Smith to scout out and evaluate his competition in a more relaxed setting than training camp. If Smith attended, of course, Sanchez could possibly do the same thing. The most convincing argument for Smith going to Sanchez’s camp is that he is missing out on time that he could be building chemistry with his fellow players, something especially vital for a new rookie quarterback going up against a veteran. What’s worse is that this disadvantage is two-fold because Sanchez is seizing this opportunity to reassert himself as the starter. Sanchez’s leadership is coming through to Kellen Winslow for sure.
“He handles himself like a pro….He knows what everybody’s doing.”
And Winslow isn’t the only person that is being convinced of Sanchez’s leadership; Sanchez is starting to feel more comfortable in his role.
“It’s becoming more and more natural,” Sanchez said
One would certainly hope that Sanchez is feeling this way as he enters his fifth season as a Jet. Since leading the Jets to back-to-back AFC championships, Sanchez has not been able to get another Super Bowl-worthy run together. This is a fact that Sanchez is all-to aware of and he knows that he must get better.
“You’ve got to constantly improve, you’ve got to constantly get better, you’ve got to make the playoffs….Teams that don’t make the playoffs a couple years in a row — coaches get fired, players get traded, things change, organizations blow up and start over. So we’re with a new regime. John Idzik wants a quarterback competition. I’m still here. Let’s compete.”
Sanchez seems confident in his ability to win the starting job (when asked whether he would be starting come September he responded “absolutely”) over Smith. Based on Sanchez’s contract extension and his chemistry with the team that is only getting stronger by the day, I would say that Sanchez has every right to feel confident.