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In what must come as a relief to Jets fans, Geno Smith says he’s not Mark Sanchez

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There probably is nothing better first-year starter Geno Smith could say to ingratiate himself to New York Jets fans than what he told reporters that no, he is not Mark Sanchez, despite some alarming statistical similarities to the former Jets quarterback’s first season as signal-caller for the team.

Smith has been inconsistent — most rookie quarterbacks experience similar ups and downs– during his first year under center in the NFL, especially as it relates to turnovers. Through ten games, Smith has thrown eight touchdown passes but has thrown twice as many interceptions with sixteen, along with four fumbles.

During Sanchez’s 2009 rookie season after the same amount of games, had thrown sixteen interceptions to ten touchdowns. A pretty remarkable similarity.

On Wednesday, in what must have been music to the ears of Jets fans, Smith reportedly bristled when a member of the media attempted to go down that road and compare the two quarterbacks.

“No, I’m not Mark,” said Smith, according to an ESPN.com report. “I don’t think it’s fair to compare his season to mine. It’s two different seasons, two different guys, two different players, two different styles, two different systems. I know you guys want to compare every single thing, but it doesn’t make a difference.”

It certainly appears that Smith did not intend the comment to be a criticism of Sanchez, still, Jets fans must love that comment. For obvious reasons.

Smith should realize that he has a potentially critical game coming up Sunday as he leads the 5-5 Jets to M&T Bank Stadium for a huge showdown for the Baltimore Ravens, not only in the context of what the team hopes to accomplish this season, but in his own development.

The rookie quarterback had a particularly brutal performance during last Sunday’s 37-14 whupping the team experienced at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, when he committed four turnovers and was benched.

But it appears he has the support of his teammates. Despite saying, “Unfortunately, yes,” when asked if Smith’s rookie struggles mirror Sanchez’s, veteran linebacker Calvin Pace still believes Smith has what it takes to lead the team to a victory on Sunday.

“He’ll bounce back,” Pace said. “I believe in him.”

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