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Rex Ryan: Mark Sanchez to take first snaps in practice

Nothing says forever like an arm tattoo.

After selecting West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the No. 39 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan told NFL Network on Saturday that embattled incumbent Mark Sanchez will take the first snap when the second phase of the Jets' offseason program begins Monday.

Ryan's pronouncement isn't particularly surprising. NFL coaches always want to preserve the appearance of competition even when there is none.

Tim Tebow will be released as soon as general manager John Idzik realizes he can't squeeze out even a late-round draft pick from another team for the backup. Sanchez might hang on a bit longer due to his $8.25 million in contract guarantees, but Ryan's opinion likely will be changed sooner rather than later.

The Jets simply have too many quarterbacks to operate a smooth practice. Smith, David Garrard and Greg McElroy all need reps. In today's NFL, early-round quarterbacks are expected to play as rookies. It makes no sense to keep Sanchez around as a sacrificial lamb, delaying Smith's inevitable debut as the Jets' Week 1 starter.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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