Geno Smith won't play vs. Jags

Updated: August 17, 2013, 8:19 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith will not play Saturday night when the Jets host Jacksonville, the team announced.

Smith rolled his right ankle during the first preseason game in Detroit, and did not practice on Thursday after taking the field earlier in the week.

Smith has been vying with former starter Mark Sanchez in what has been billed as a fair and open competition for the starting job by Jets coach Rex Ryan. Sanchez was tabbed to start in Detroit last Saturday, and threw an interception to cap the first offensive series for the Jets.

Despite the ankle injury, the Jets had Smith practice on the Sunday when the team returned to Cortland, N.Y., to continue training camp. He played poorly, and Ryan's frustration boiled over after a particularly bad showing for the rookie on Wednesday.

"It was brutal," Ryan said. "That was Geno's worst day. Obviously, the ankle is part of it, way too many picks and things. [He] did not look comfortable today. Obviously, he has to come back from it, he will come back from it but it was a bad day. We've seen it, guys have bad days, but this was a really bad day for Geno."

Even before the first preseason game, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that Smith's performance had "dipped."

The Jets had hoped to pick a starter before the third preseason game of the year, but could possibly extend that deadline to see if Smith can improve his performance. Many in the organization were not happy with Sanchez after last season, when he had 26 turnovers.

But with a rookie who has struggled on the field and is now injured, Sanchez's chances to maintain the starting job may be improving despite the early pick. Sanchez has now started both preseason games, and has an opportunity against Jacksonville to tighten his grip.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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