Every year, Mark Sanchez hosts a group of players at Mission Viejo High School in southern California for drills and training before the season. It’s become commonly know as Jets West and has developed into a well-produced event with great food and lots of fun. Sometimes these types of things may not be necessary, but are helpful. This year is actually very important when you consider the new offense (Marty Mornhinweg), plus so many new players on the team. Many players have departed over the past year, including: Dustin Keller, Shonn Greene, Patrick Turner, Scotty McKnight, and Braylon Edwards to name a few. News broke today that Geno Smith declined an invitation.
We know that Jeff Cumberland, Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill, Chris Ivory and more are in attendance, so they must see some value in it. It’s not just a weekend in sunny Southern California.
Whenever there is a new offensive coordinator and new players, timing and route running plus building relationships are key. In the Jets Super Bowl season in 1968, Defensive Coordinator Walt Michaels relied on Jim Hudson (who passed away recently), to tell Joe Namath to take care of the ball better. And he did. And you know what happened next. Relationships matter. I know that Sanchez is throwing the “party” but it could still be a big week for Geno to participate, whether he is starter this season, next, or whenever. On the other hand I realize that he and Mark are in a real battle for a starting job and that the tension may not be healthy before camp. Sometimes it really is a competition and you don’t want to goof off with whoever you’re supposed to go out an beat. Maybe Geno is taking this very seriously and doesn’t want to get soft. Geno has his own team of trainers who are getting him ready and that’s perfectly okay.
Mark has been through a lot the past few years and has handled himself with class. He managed the Tebow situation very well and while he was right to take his lumps for his lack of ball control, he has been respectful and classy. I actually think it would be a great learning experience for Geno and that it would be good to show his mental toughness, hanging around someone he’s going to compete with. In fact, most players on a team are competing for a spot, but they still co-exist and are not enemies. Toughness is a trait that to me is as important, if not more important that physical ability playing in New York with tough fans and media.
Regardless, less than two weeks from now, we fans will get to see this awesome competition live! I’m hopeful that both players show up and push one another to get better and that whoever wins realizes how tough the NFL is. Let the competition begin.