Mark Sanchez assumes Geno Smith will start in Jets' next game

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Coach Rex Ryan and the New York Jets aren't ready to select a starting quarterback for their preseason game against the New York Giants.

Mark Sanchez has an idea who it might be -- and it's not him.

Sanchez and rookie Geno Smith are in a tightly contested competition for the opportunity to start the season under center. Sanchez has started in the first two preseason games, including last Saturday when Smith was hobbled by a sprained ankle. So, it seems logical to him that it'll be Smith's turn to go this weekend.

"I'm assuming," Sanchez said Wednesday when asked if he expected Smith to start. "I don't know. They haven't said."

Ryan has played the quarterback situation close to the vest all summer, and it appears he'll continue to do so this week. The reality is this: Sanchez has had up-and-down moments during his two preseason appearances, but he hasn't done enough to pull away from Smith.

Smith, meanwhile, has just two quarters of preseason game action after spraining his right ankle in the opener at Detroit. That has kept him from being thoroughly evaluated, and it's holding up the Jets' ultimate decision on who'll be the quarterback Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It's getting better," Smith said of his ankle. "I wouldn't say it's 100 percent. I just got to continue to treat it every single day. Every day, it has felt better than the previous day. I just got to continue to treat it and just get better."

Smith has worked with the Jets' first-team offense for three consecutive days, mainly because Sanchez did the same last week while Smith was slowed by the injury. Both quarterbacks had solid practices Wednesday, but Smith was outstanding in team drills while completing 15 of 16 passes, including two touchdowns.

That came exactly one week after Smith threw four interceptions, including three in 11-on-11 team drills, prompting Ryan to say it was a "brutal" performance by the second-round draft pick.

"It wasn't brutal, that's for sure," Ryan said Wednesday with a smile. "That was a great day. I don't know if that was his best day because he's had a lot of good ones, but he had a great one today."

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