Florham Park, NJ (Sports Network) - Rookie Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback for the New York Jets in their opener on Sunday against Tampa Bay.
The Jets' website quoted coach Rex Ryan as saying Smith will be under center against the Buccaneers.
"We're going to go with Geno Smith and we are excited about that," Ryan said in an interview posted on the team's website.
Smith had been battling incumbent Mark Sanchez for the starting role during the preseason and the West Virginia product may have won the job by default thanks to Sanchez's injured shoulder.
A report in the New York Post on Wednesday said Sanchez might not be available for the Jets until Week 3.
"It's unfortunate Mark was injured, but he's working extremely hard to get back,' said Ryan about Sanchez. "He's just not ready right now."
Sanchez hurt his shoulder during the third preseason game against the Giants, taking a hard shot after throwing a pass while playing with reserves in the fourth quarter. Smith had started that game and was unimpressive with three interceptions.
Smith battled an injury of his own early in the preseason with an ankle issue that kept him out of the second preseason game. He completed 6-of-7 passes for 47 yards in first game, then was 16-of-30 for 199 with a touchdown and the three interceptions against the Giants.
"Before he had the injury to his ankle, he looked tremendous," said Ryan about Smith's progress. "He's back to driving the football. Right now, he's back to where he was before the injury."
With Sanchez's injury, Smith, barring an injury of his own, will likely get the starting nod in Week 2 as well. Following the opener against Tampa Bay, the Jets have a quick turnaround with a Thursday night contest against New England.