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Saturday, August 3, 2013
Mark Sanchez booed at scrimmage

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- At times, it looked and sounded like last season for Mark Sanchez. He committed a "Butt Stumble," threw an interception and heard boos Saturday night from the announced crowd of 6,000 at the New York Jets' annual Green & White scrimmage.

"I think that's bullcrap," cornerback Antonio Cromartie said of the fans' reaction to his interception of Sanchez on an overthrown deep pass.

Sanchez salvaged an otherwise shaky performance by launching a 57-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Hill on the final play of the controlled scrimmage, countering a solid night by rookie Geno Smith.

Smith completed nine of 16 passes for 77 yards, with no turnovers. The second-round pick got the start and worked mostly with the first-team offense because it was his turn in the quarterback rotation.

He continued to impress with his poise and arm strength, but he led the offense to only three points in four possessions. After seven practices and one scrimmage, the ballyhooed quarterback competition is too close to call.

Coach Rex Ryan said Smith was "absolutely tremendous" on his first drive, when he hit four straight passes before stalling in the red zone. Ryan said Sanchez had "some good moments and some bad moments."

Actually, there were a few bad ones.

Sanchez (6-for-11, 93 yards) stumbled and fell on his rear end while dropping back to pass, a sack that conjured up comparisons to his infamous "Butt Fumble" from last season. He also overthrew a wide-open Clyde Gates in the end zone.

After the interception, the relatively docile crowd groaned and produced a smattering of boos. This was an idyllic summer night in upstate New York; imagine a fall Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Sanchez shrugged it off.

"Oh, shoot, I don't care," said Sanchez, who incurred the wrath of the home fans last season. "That's the way it goes."

To his credit, Sanchez responded with his best throw of the summer, hitting Hill in stride. It was one of three long touchdown passes on the night.

Third-stringer Greg McElroy threw 47- and 70-yard scores to Ryan Spadola and Vidal Hazelton, respectively.

"It was nice to close it that way and finish strong," said Sanchez, who led the offense to 10 points in five possessions.

The Jets have three practices before they open the preseason next Friday in Detroit. Ryan has yet to name his starter for the game.

"This is the beginning stages, if you will, of the competition," Ryan said. "It'll be interesting when we go to Detroit."