New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez hands off to running back Leon Washington during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, Aug. 24, 2009, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Rookie Mark Sanchez was named the New York Jets' starting quarterback Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the decision.
Sanchez, the fifth overall draft pick out of Southern California, beat out veteran Kellen Clemens with a solid training camp and will be under center for the Jets' season opener at Houston on Sept. 13. The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision.
Sanchez struggled early in his start at Baltimore on Monday night, but threw a touchdown pass to Leon Washington to cap his final series. Sanchez was 3-for-8 for 43 yards and had an interception - his first pass of the game - returned for a touchdown. Clemens was 5-for-10 for 60 yards and a score, but also had an interception returned for a TD.
New coach Rex Ryan said early in training camp that he would like to have made a decision on his starter by the Jets' third preseason game, and he apparently saw enough from the two quarterbacks through two games.
FoxSports first reported the decision earlier Wednesday.
Sanchez, who replaces Brett Favre as the starter, had an up-and-down training camp, befitting of a rookie, but showed lots of poise and good decision-making at times to give him a slight edge in the competition this summer.
Clemens, entering his fourth season with the Jets after being a second-round pick in 2006, also had a solid but unspectacular camp, but threw 12 interceptions compared to the rookie's five.
The Jets signed their franchise quarterback to a five-year deal that could be worth up to $60 million, including $28 million guaranteed, just a few weeks after the draft. Sanchez was already being touted as the new face of the franchise and it appeared it was his job to lose after that.
Sanchez had a sizzling NFL debut Aug. 14, when he came in with 28 seconds left in the first quarter, completed a 48-yard pass to David Clowney on his first snap and engineered an early scoring drive in New York's 23-20 loss to St. Louis.
He struggled against the Ravens in the team's 24-23 defeat at Baltimore, but Ryan said he expected both quarterbacks to have their problems against the defense he helped build during the previous 10 years as an assistant and then coordinator.
Sanchez forced a pass on the second play as he was hit by Ray Lewis, and Haloti Ngata rumbled 25 yards for a score. His second pass was almost picked off by Lewis, who dropped the ball, but Sanchez settled down after that.
Ryan made it clear after the team drafted Sanchez that he wouldn't be afraid to start a rookie quarterback, particularly after watching Joe Flacco lead the Ravens to the AFC championship last season.
The Jets traded up in the draft to acquire the fifth overall pick from Cleveland and former coach Eric Mangini. New York jumped at the chance to select Sanchez, who was considered one of the top prospects in the draft despite a lack of experience.
Sanchez went 14-2 as a starter with the Trojans, leading them over Penn State in the Rose Bowl in January. The Jets were comfortable with Sanchez's ability, putting him through a private workout and holding a classroom session in a hotel room at the owners' meetings in California in March.
Tuesday, May 23 2017 5:55 PM EDT2017-05-23 21:55:13 GMT
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