Mark Sanchez v Geno Smith: A rookie comparison

The New York Jets lost last night but Smith has shown more signs of becoming a quality quarterback than Sanchez ever did early in his rookie season.

This quarterback battle has at points been fascinating but most as it got drawn out it became tiresome.

Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez went head to head during preseason and it looked as though Sanchez has won the starting spot but he suffered a shoulder injury in the final preseason game handing the spot to the rookie Smith.

Now that he has started the first two games of the season we thought it would be interesting to compare the two QBs first career starts. Obviously it is hard to compare games that are over four years apart nevertheless it could tell us something about each player.

Coincidently their first two games were against similar teams, for Sanchez it was at the Texans and home to the Patriots, for Smith it was home to Tampa Bay and away to the Patriots.

Statistics are everything in the NFL and looking at the two sets of stats you can see that Mark Sanchez put up better numbers, he went a combined 32/53 with 435 yards in his first two appearances for the Jets. Geno Smith may have put up more yards so far this season but he has thrown four interceptions and he has shown much less accuracy than Sanchez at the same stage.

It must be said that in the 2009 season Mark Sanchez was playing behind a much better all round team, he had so many more experienced veterans to help him along in his first forays into the NFL; Smith on the other hand doesn’t have these luxuries. In fact he has inherited a team that has undergone a major overhaul since the end of last season, their best player Darrelle Revis has left for sunny Tampa Bay and the roster is now made up of inexperienced players.

This season will be difficult for the Jets and Geno Smith; even though his stats may not match up he has shown some promise in the opening few games. His ability to get out of trouble with his legs seems to gain a lot of praise from NFL experts and this is also one attribute that he can be better at the Sanchez.

If the reports about Mark Sanchez needing season ending shoulder surgery are correct then I think it is time to move on from him as QB, the fact that Sanchez still seemed to be making rookie mistakes during his fourth season was quite troublesome, not the progression you should be getting from a starting QB.

The key thing for Geno Smith, especially after his three interceptions last night, is to be patient and know that he has time on his side. He has the added bonus of not having the pressure that comes with being a first round draft pick.

The Jets will hope that Smith can develop and progress better than Sanchez ever did. The next game will be important as we will be able to see if the young QB can bounce from a disappointing loss.

image: © fermentarium