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Jets have lost their starting quarterback due to late game substitution in preseason.

Last Saturday the New York Jets faced the New York Giants in their third preseason game of the season. In a close game head coach of the Jets, Rex Ryan, decided to put quarterback Mark Sanchez in to win the annual MetLife Bowl. Consequently, Sanchez sustained an injury and Ryan’s decision was heavily scrutinized by the media.

Two days prior to the game, Ryan announced during a press conference quarterback Geno Smith would get the start in the MetLife Bowl. “It’s not a surprise, I think. We’re gonna start Geno [Smith] this week,” Ryan said. “We’ll see how far we take [Smith] into this game but we will start him this week and Mark [Sanchez] will play also.”

Ryan explained he made the decision to start Smith because the coaches didn’t have a clear idea of where he was at.

“We did say all along that it was going to be an equal competition,” Ryan said. “Obviously, the fact that Geno wasn’t able to play this last week… it wouldn’t be an equal competition if we had not played it out this way… for Geno to only get two series… I don’t believe that [evaluation] would be a complete process… the winner of that [quarterback] competition is going to deserve it.”

Smith had only played a few series in a live NFL game, his ankle injury kept him out of the second preseason game. Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg simply wanted to see more of Smith to thoroughly evaluate him.

“I think I know exactly where Mark [Sanchez] is at,” Mornhinweg said. “Don’t quite know where Geno’s at… those preseason games are such a very important [part in the] evaluation period.”

Ryan told reporters in the press conference the coaching staff isn’t concerned about making a decision on the quarterback competition between Sanchez and Smith any time soon.

“We are not putting a timetable on this. I think when we are ready to make that decision and we feel great about it as an organization then we will make that decision,” Ryan said.

After reporters questioned Ryan for not naming a definitive starting quarterback to start the regular season as other teams have before the third preseason game, Ryan responded.

“Right now is not the appropriate time to announce a starter because [the competition] is incomplete… the main thing is that it’s the right decision at the right time,” he said.

Saturday night at MetLife Stadium Smith had his opportunity to impress Rex and co. that he could be the Jets starting quarterback. Smith concluded his first drive with a 22 yard touchdown pass. However, his day was overshadowed by three interception passes and a safety that followed. After the game, reporters asked Ryan if Smith even had a chance to win the starting job after his performance.

“We are going to compete all the way through,” Ryan said. When reporters grilled Ryan for giving a definitive answer he responded.

“Hey, I will make that call. I don’t have to answer a question; I can answer it the way I said. From day one I said we will make the announcement of the starting quarterback when we think it’s the appropriate time.”

Smith played until the fourth quarter and was substituted for Sanchez. Unfortunately for Sanchez, he played behind the team’s second squad offensive line which resulted into a shoulder injury in the middle of the fourth quarter. On the play, the offensive line’s pass protection broke down; to keep the play alive Sanchez rolled out of the pocket and completed 23-yard pass. However, Sanchez was drilled in his shoulder by a Giants defensive lineman which later sidelined him for the remainder of the game and will keep him on the sideline for the Jets final preseason game this Thursday.

After the game, coach Ryan was questioned by reporters of why he put Sanchez in the game in the fourth quarter. Reporters argued he may have lost his starting quarterback for the regular season. Ryan explained Sanchez was in because he was still involved in quarterback competition and he wanted what he felt gave his team the best chance to win.

“Well after the injury you always have reservations about [it], ah, you know, okay shoot,” Ryan said. “But we are competing… I’m telling our players we are trying to compete to win this game… but you know when a guy gets injured you can say the same thing… hopefully the severity of the injuries aren’t too severe.”

After all Ryan and co. wanted a fair quarterback competition the very same way they conducted competition at other positions, for the players who were competing to make this year’s Jets roster. Giving Sanchez a chance to win his job at the end of the game was only fair in Ryan’s eyes.

“Obviously, we have talked about the [quarterback] competition and that was something that I thought was important,” Ryan said. “If it wasn’t important I would not have put him in there. I would not have put Mark [Sanchez] in if it was not important.”