Matty I: The main training camp battle in New York figures to be the competition for the starting quarterback job between Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez. Who currently has the upper hand here and how do you see this battle playing out? Could Sanchez, despite having just one year of starting experience at the collegiate level, realistically be the Jets' week one starter?
John B: Clemens played better than Sanchez at OTA's. That was to be expected. He has spent three years learning the system and has eight games of starting experience. Sanchez had no point of reference for facing the speed of an NFL defense and still only had a very superficial grasp of the playbook. He did come on at the end of minicamp, though.
Even though Clemens is ahead right now, I would be shocked to see anybody other than Sanchez taking snaps from Nick Mangold in Week 1 as long as he's healthy. He is the quarterback of the future. You don't trade into the top five and give a guy a $50 million deal to have him sit on the bench. Moving up to grab Sanchez spoke volumes as to what the team thinks of Clemens. Rex Ryan won't have a problem throwing a rookie right into the fire after what he saw with Joe Flacco a year ago. Ryan actually wanted Flacco to be the starter before anybody else in the organization practically. Right or wrong, the team thinks it has the perfect situation for a rookie quarterback with an excellent offensive line and running game and what on paper looks like a good defense.
That's how I think it will play out, but I'm not sure I agree with the team's thinking. As you said, Sanchez has only one year of starting experience and was relatively inconsistent. He is still learning the game. I think it might be in his best interest to sit for a little bit and gradually adjust to the pro game through practice rather than diving in head first. Jets fans are notorious impatient, and Sanchez has come in with an inhuman amount of hype. I worry how things will go for him if he can't immediately meet these high expectations. It might be best to take it easy.
A lot of your questions, Matty, had a lot to do with the team's confidence level. That doesn't really concern me. This quarterback situation makes me much more jittery.
My Take: I agree with John here that it's probably in Sanchez's best interest if he wasn't thrown right to the wolves. But I get the feeling, like John does, that the Jets do plan on having Sanchez start in week one. Personally, I hope the Jets start Sanchez right away. There's no easier way to ruin a potential franchise quarterback than throwing him right into the fire. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Can't wait to see you, Mr. Sanchez, on October 12 in a packed Land Shark Stadium on national TV!
Be sure to check in at GGN at some point today to read a little about what I think will make the 2009 season a success for the Dolphins.