FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Geno Smith appears not ready for prime time, and Mark Sanchez might not be ready for the opener.
Now what for the New York Jets? Well, they have less than two weeks to solve their big quarterback question before they face Tampa Bay on Sept. 8 in the regular-season opener.
"We said from Day 1 that there was no timetable on us announcing a starting quarterback," coach Rex Ryan said Monday.
And, there's no rush, of course — except when you consider that the preseason is nearly over and the Jets still have no clarity on the situation.
Smith was given an opportunity to possibly seize the starting job last Saturday against the Giants, but came up with a dismal performance that included three interceptions and taking a safety when he stepped out of the back of the end zone.
Sanchez, who appeared in great shape to win the competition, is now recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in garbage time against the Giants — and could keep him out for the start of the season.
It is conceivable, of course, that the Jets could keep everyone — the media, fans and opponents — guessing until the Friday before their game against the Buccaneers.
"We'll probably have our decision before that," Ryan said. "But as we said, we're not going to rush the decision until we're completely comfortable with that decision. And, we'll stay with that.
"Hey, I don't know what else to say about it."
Ryan is probably a bit surprised he's even still talking about the competition at this point. After all, it was deemed an "open competition" that would be decided when one of the quarterbacks had elevated himself above the other.
But, it has been so tightly contested that there was no clear opening, an opportunity for most observers to say, "That's the guy."
Until Saturday night.
That's when Smith showed his inexperience in his first NFL start with some jitters, mistakes and missteps through three-plus quarters.
"It (was) pretty uneven," Smith said. "I had some ups and downs. It's all a part of the learning curve."
It's a curve that could continue through Thursday's game against Philadelphia and into Week 1 against Tampa Bay. Ryan said the Jets haven't yet determined who's playing against the Eagles, but Sanchez will certainly not.
Many fans and media assumed Sanchez, with a solid camp and preseason performance, had clinched the starting job after Smith's performance. But then, Ryan wanted to see more of Sanchez, who went into the game and had his right shoulder crunched by Marvin Austin after completing a pass with less than 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Sanchez is day to day with the injury, which neither he nor Ryan would detail. Sanchez is staying positive, though, about potentially being ready for the season opener.