Whether he’s also out of the team’s quarterback competition remains to be seen.
The Jets announced Sunday that Sanchez is “day-to-day” with an injured shoulder that will sideline him for the team’s preseason finale against Philadelphia on Thursday night. Sanchez, competing with rookie Geno Smith for the starting job, was unlikely to play in that game anyway.
The team did not announce the nature or severity of Sanchez’s injury, suffered in the Jets‘ 24-21 overtime victory over the Giants on Saturday night. Sanchez had an X-ray after the game on the shoulder, which apparently revealed no fractures, and an MRI exam Sunday to determine if there’s any damage. The Jets‘ announcement indicated that Sanchez likely does not have a season-ending injury.
Still, there’s a chance Sanchez might not be ready in time for the regular-season opener against Tampa Bay on Sept. 8.
Sanchez, who appeared in good shape to beat out Smith for the starting job, left with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter when he took a hard hit in the shoulder from Marvin Austin after he completed a 23-yard pass to Mohamed Massaquoi.
Sanchez stayed on the turf, writhing in pain for a few moments as the team’s trainers ran out to check on him. When he eventually got up, the quarterback flexed his right arm and hand as he headed to the sideline. He took one practice throw on the sideline and appeared to shake his head “No.” Trainers wrapped his shoulder in ice before taking him to the locker room.
Coach Rex Ryan has taken a lot of heat from media and fans for bringing in Sanchez that late in the game behind an offensive line made up of backups. While it was similar to the line he played with in the third quarter of last week’s win over Jacksonville, it seemed somewhat curious why Sanchez _ who many assumed had moved ahead in the competition _ would be put in at that point.
“I understand being second-guessed when an injury happens,” Ryan said. “Certainly I understand that. But that’s football.”
Smith struggled in his first NFL start, throwing three interceptions and stepping out of the back of the end zone for a safety while playing into the fourth quarter. Ryan and Smith said after the game that the plan all along was to have Sanchez play after Smith.
Ryan also turned testy _ turning his body sideways to the media at one point _ while refusing to definitively answer whether Smith could still win the quarterback competition despite his poor performance.
“I can say anything I want,” he said. “That’s the beauty of this country. I can answer it 100 (times). I can stand backwards and answer the question. I’m going sideways. We’ll make the announcement when I think it’s the appropriate time.”
Sanchez finished 5 of 6 for 72 yards and a lost fumble, but had likely moved ahead of Smith in the competition. Now, if Sanchez must miss a few weeks, Smith could be the Week 1 starter. The only other quarterbacks on the roster are the inexperienced Greg McElroy and Matt Simms.
“As long as Rex and the committee are evaluating us, I think I have a shot,” Smith said after the game. “As I’ve stated, I don’t think one game, one practice, one day will tell you the type of quarterback I am. I think it takes a ton of evaluation to get this thing done.”