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Joe Namath believes Mark Sanchez best QB fit for N.Y. Jets

  • By NFL.com
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Mark Sanchez still has supporters, and a legendary New York Jets quarterback is chief among them.

Joe Namath, who joined NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" on Thursday, remains in Sanchez's corner. The Hall of Fame quarterback believes the Jets' struggles over the past two seasons go far beyond their current signal-caller.

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"I personally think that Sanchez will give them the best chance because of the four years (of) experience that he's had," said Namath, who turns 70 on Friday. ... "This team the Jets had the last two seasons, there are other positions out there that didn't have a passing grade as far as performance goes. So, if this team improves, I think Sanchez will probably win that starting position. But that remains to be seen. He's gotta do it between now and September."

Even though Namath believes Sanchez ultimately will keep the starting job, he sees why the Jets selected Geno Smith in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

"Geno's a terrific athlete, and the way the game's going, you might want a guy that can run around a little bit more and throw," Namath said. "He's big, he's got good size, he can throw everything. I watched him play at West Virginia, his coaches speak highly of him.

"I think, well I know, you gotta get the mental part of the game out here, too -- be able to handle those defenses," Namath added. "When Geno gets a grasp for that -- his athletic ability combined with that mental part -- he might very well earn that job."

The quarterback position isn't the only unstable aspect of the Jets. There have been rumblings Rex Ryan could be ousted, despite leading the Jets to two AFC Championship Games during his four years as coach. Would a shake-up there be a smart move?

"Rex is a winning coach at this point," Namath said. "Remember, he still has more wins than he does losses under his belt. He also is under contract for 2014. ... Who's to say the Jets can't make the playoffs this year? Sure, a lot of experts. But those players believe they can, or they better believe they can or else go somewhere else and play. They're good athletes -- they have to learn to keep from beating themselves, play as a team and play their best football. They might make the playoffs. What if they get an 8-8 record? Do you fire coach Rex Ryan then when you see improvement in the team?"

"Broadway Joe" certainly is much more optimistic than others about the Jets' chances in 2013. Maybe it's blind faith, or maybe the Hall of Famer sees something the experts don't.

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