Mark Sanchez got the news Friday night and he could hardly sleep. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told the team that Sanchez and Kellen Clemens would begin alternating reps with the first team and Sanchez was up first in the Saturday morning workout.
The rookie, who took all of the first-team reps for the first time, didn't disappoint. He opened the practice in 11-on-11 with a 40-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (who beat Darrelle Revis) and he was on from there.
He completed 10 of 19 passes with two touchdowns and one interception. He got his unit in and out of the huddle and the tempo was crisp. He capped a lengh-of-the-field two-minute drill with a 20-yard touchdown to Chansi Stuckey on a slant pattern.
Even so, coach Rex Ryan announced that Clemens would start on Friday night in the preseason opener against the Rams at the Meadowlands. Clemens hit four of 12 passes with one interception and two near interceptions in the morning workout. He'll run with the first team this afternoon.
The headline doesn't really tell the whole story. You need the context. Clemens is getting the start just as he was listed number one on the depth chart entering camp. It's a courtesy to the veteran and forces the rookie to earn his keep.
The times are changing, though. Sanchez is outplaying Clemens, and the staff is giving him more of an opportunity. It seems like a matter of time before the quarterback of the future becomes the quarterback of the present.