FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mark Sanchez understands the New York Jets’ starting quarterback job is still up for grabs.
That doesn’t mean he expects the final result to be anything different: with him under center leading the team every Sunday.
“Naturally, as you progress in your career, you try and tighten up and hone in,” Sanchez said Thursday after voluntary workouts. “But, like I’ve said, this is something I dreamed about my whole life and now I’m not planning on letting go.”
Sanchez is approaching this offseason as though he is the starting quarterback, despite his hold on the job being extremely tenuous. There is one less competitor in the mix, however, with David Garrard planning to retire because his balky left knee has continued to give him trouble.
So with Garrard stepping away and New York cutting Tim Tebow two weeks ago, Sanchez, Geno Smith, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms are left on the roster.
It had been speculated by some that the competition to start would be between Garrard, Sanchez and Smith, despite GM John Idzik, coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg insisting it would be “open” to everyone.
Now, Sanchez appears to have a clear advantage, although the organization is excited about the potential of Smith, the former record-breaking West Virginia quarterback who slid in the draft from a potential top-10 pick all the way to the second round.
“He looks good,” Sanchez said of Smith. “He’s sharp. He works hard, doesn’t say too much. Just plays his butt off and competes. That’s great.”