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Tuesday, August 6, 2013
What we learned on Day 13

By Rich Cimini

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Observations from the press box:

1. Sanchez to start preseason opener: The Jets made the chalk decision by announcing that Mark Sanchez will start Friday night in Detroit. In my opinion, they should've gone with Geno Smith just to get an early read on the rookie. Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Sanchez "earned it" because of his "outstanding" camp. Whoa! This smells like a coach with an agenda. Sanchez has been solid, not outstanding. Methinks Mornhinweg was trying to bolster Sanchez's confidence while also sending a message to Smith that nothing will be handed to him. Coaches have been known to send messages, you know.

2. The Marty Factor: The overlooked aspect of last week's John Idzik-Rex Ryan brushfire (who will pick the QB?) is the role of Mornhinweg. After listening to Mornhinweg discuss the quarterbacks Tuesday in a press-box chat with reporters, I came away convinced he will have a large say in the final decision -- really large. After all, it's his offense. He will tell Ryan which quarterback he believes will function best in his system. I find it hard to believe Ryan, a defensive guy all the way, would go against the wishes of his offensive coordinator. One note about Mornhinweg: In 12 seasons as a coordinator and head coach, he's never gone into a season with a rookie at quarterback.

3. Joe McDiva: If I were Joe McKnight, I'd send a nice thank-you note to former special teams coach Mike Westhoff for making him a kickoff returner in 2011. His ability as a kickoff returner -- one of the league's best -- is the reason he's still around. McKnight is a high-maintenance player who can drive coaches crazy with his lack of focus. His latest episode, an arrest for failing to pay $320 in traffic fines, shows his immaturity. In the big picture, it's a small thing, but small things add up. The dude has talent, he just needs to grow up. And to think, this is a contract year.