The case against Mark Sanchez

Based on what Mark Sanchez has done in the NFL, the Jets won't lose much starting anyone else. USA TODAY Sports

Geno Smith is entering his first season with the New York Jets. The case to name him the team's starting quarterback is entering Year 5.

Why wait?

Smith might not be ready. But if we're honest about what fifth-year incumbent starter Mark Sanchez offers as an alternative -- he was a sub-replacement player in 2012, as we'll explore in greater detail below -- we're not piling on coach Rex Ryan so hard for treating his veteran quarterback like a third-stringer during the preseason. We're open to the idea of someone else, almost anyone else, getting a shot.

With the opener against Tampa Bay near, the Jets could have a hard time selling the idea that a rookie is ready to lead them in Week 1. Smith tossed three picks and took a safety in the Jets' preseason game against the New York Giants, after all. Today, we consider whether Sanchez should be an even tougher sell. Damning evidence came into focus when we pulled conventional wisdom into a room with an NFL personnel evaluator, a defensive backs coach (who wished to remain anonymous) and some advanced stats.