- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Former Jets RB LaDainian Tomlinson believes Mark Sanchez will be the opening-day quarterback, but he's not offering a ringing endorsement. The future Hall of Famer has serious doubts about his former teammate.
"Mark has to start to trust himself," Tomlinson, now an NFL Network analyst, said Thursday night on the "NFL Total Access" show. "Mark does a great job in the film room, but when he comes out on the field, he doesn’t trust what he sees out there in terms of coverages and the timing with his receivers. If he starts to trust himself and not hesitate in throwing the football, then he possibly could turn his career around. I think it’ll be tough at this point because rarely does a zebra change his stripes.”
Tomlinson, who played with the Jets in 2010 and 2011, doesn't see Sanchez losing the job to rookie Geno Smith -- not yet, anway. He said Sanchez will win it "by default because I don’t believe Geno Smith will be ready to play.
"[Smith] comes from an offense where they rarely huddle. They play from the shotgun, the spread system, so I don’t know if he’s ready to take over Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. This is a West Coast offense, and really Mark Sanchez has that type of DNA in him because he played at USC in a West Coast offense. Early on, we probably will see Sanchez take the snaps at the starting spot. But here’s the thing: In preseason, if Mark Sanchez doesn’t show the ability to improve from turning the football over and that race is close between the two, Geno Smith will be the starter.”