The New York Jets held their annual Green & White scrimmage on Saturday night in front of 6,000 fans at SUNY Cortland.
The best quarterback of the night wasn’t either of the two in competition for the starting job. It was third string quarterback Greg McElroy. McElroy went 5-for-5 129 yards with 2 touchdown passes — a 47 yard toss to rookie Ryan Spadola and a 70 yard throw over a broken coverage to Vidal Hazelton.
“I don’t know what that QBR is but that was pretty impressive. [McElroy] stepped up and made some nice throws,” Rex Ryan said. “We know he can win games in this league coming off the bench. He proved that last year, albeit in a 7-6 masterpiece.”
Neither of the other two quarterbacks, Sanchez nor Smith, stood out with their performance.
Smith had a great start completing four of his first five passes, but missed on six of his next eleven. He finished the scrimmage 9-for-16, 77 yards. Overall, the rookie spent more time with the starters, four series’ to Sanchez’s one, but produced only 3 points. While not spectacular, Smith didn’t take any sacks and was smart with the football — he has still not thrown an interception during training camp.
On the other hand, Mark Sanchez showed flashes of his old self, the good Mark Sanchez from 2010, when he threw a perfect 57 yard touchdown strike to WR Stephen Hill, and the poor Mark Sanchez from 2012, when he was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie. The interception drew a chorus of boos from the Jets faithful, which later turned to laughter when Sanchez stumbled and fell in the backfield — the fall has already been nicknamed the “Butt Stumble,” harking back to the infamous “Butt Fumble” in 2012. Sanchez finished his day 6-for-11 for 93 yards.
The bright spot of the scrimmage was the performance of running back Bilal Powell. Originally a long shot to make the team, Powell is making the most of his opportunity in the absence of Chris Ivory, Mike Goodson and Joe McKnight. Powell, rushed for 41 yards on 6 carries and added a long run of 24 yards which nearly broke for a touchdown.
“It was good to see Bilal, and he made a couple of great plays,” Rex Ryan said. “He made an unbelievable play on a screen pass, also, but he did run the ball hard. We know the kind of back he is, but I think now, obviously with the opportunity he’s been given, he’s really taking the reins.”
The Jets will be back at practice on Monday after taking off Sunday. They travel to Detroit to face the Lions in their first pre-season game on Friday.