Smith, happy with his early performance in training camp, said he sees the scrimmage as an opportunity to make a statement to the coaches. The veteran Sanchez didn't go that far, but he let everyone know he believes he's still the right guy for the job.
"I feel like I'm having a great camp," Sanchez told reporters Friday after practice. "My arms feel good, my legs feel good, I feel strong, I feel accurate, I feel like I'm in command."
Sanchez has been outplayed in recent practices by Smith, but he has the edge in experience. Therefore, the quarterback competition is practically a dead heat after one week of camp.
Nothing will be decided in the scrimmage, as Rex Ryan noted. But Smith still viewed it as a chance to state his case.
"Everything has been competitive, but the level of competition will be raised," the rookie said. "Every single guy wants to go out and perform well in the scrimmage. You want to be that guy, when you go back and watch tape, the coaches are praising you, saying, 'Hey, this is the type of guy we need here.'"
Smith has yet to throw an interception in team drills, covering eight practices. That's impressive for any quarterback, let alone a rookie. But at the same time, he continued to take too many "sacks." Smith gave his theory on that, basically saying he knows he can hold on to the ball a split-second longer than usual because he knows he won't get hit. The quarterbacks will be off limits in the scrimmage, as well.
Ryan said both quarterbacks likely will split first-team reps. Clearly, Smith likes his chances in the competition. Asked if he believes he has pulled even, or perhaps ahead, he replied: "It's up to the coaches. I just evaluate myself. I don't worry about any of that other stuff. I feel like, at this point, I'm at least close to where I should be. Am I perfect? No. But am I making good strides? Yes. As long as I stay on that track, I'll be fine."