CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Under a clear blue sky at SUNY Cortland, rookie Geno Smith again had the upper hand in the competition for the starting quarterback.
Smith and Mark Sanchez had been fairly even in the passing stats, but late in team drills, Sanchez threw the first interception of training camp.
A few fans groaned, a few laughed. They’ve seen this movie before.
Later, coach Rex Ryan said he was pleased Smith hasn’t thrown an interception yet, but noted that Smith was sacked twice in team drills Monday. He holds onto the ball too long at this point, and needs to speed up his reads. Unofficially (teams don’t keep or distribute training camp stats), Smith was 5-for-10 with two drops and two sacks. The drops were by Gates and fellow wideout Zach Rogers. Sanchez was 3-for-6 with one sack and the interception.
Smith just tends to make flashier plays. He hit Jeremy Kerley in the end zone on a 12-yard play-action pass. Later, he found Stephen Hill for a 17-yard touchdown working in the red zone. His passes find air and fly better, while Sanchez seems to have more success on short gains and the screen passes offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg prefers. Sanchez also found Kerley in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown.
The bottom line? Both quarterbacks have played better when paired with the first-team offense. Sanchez will have two days to practice with them starting Wednesday, since the players are off Tuesday.
ON PACE: Calvin Pace bedeviled Smith early on, slapping down two pass attempts early in team drills. The first was an incompletion, but Smith caught the rebound off Pace’s hands on the second and ran for a few yards. Pace is going into his 12th NFL season, but he is by no means done.
ATTENDANCE REPORT: Wide receivers Marcus Davis, Joseph Collins and Jordan White stayed out of team drills to work with trainers on Monday. White said he had a minor abdominal strain stemming from the second practice of camp, and was pulled out after returning punts. Running back Chris Ivory (hamstring) did individual drills, but not team drills.
RETURN GAME: The Jets are having Joe McKnight, Kerley and Rogers return punts and kickoffs. White and Gates also returned kickoffs.
MCKNIGHT MAKES IT: McKnight has had issues with dehydration, low body fat and migraines, but on Monday he made it all the way through a two-hour practice without appearing to run out of gas. He worked with the first- and second-team offenses, and returned punts and kickoffs. McKnight was placed on the PUP list after failing his initial conditioning test, but has worked in every practice.