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After yesterday's minicamp practice, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez sat in a tub of ice water to help his sore muscles recover.

You read right: He sat in the water. Contrary to popular belief, he cannot walk on it yet.

Sanchez has been through four practices as a Jet, but it already feels like a foregone conclusion that he will be the team's starting quarterback when the season opens Sept. 13 in Houston.

His second day as a Jet was not quite as impressive as Day 1, but he continued to show the strong arm and poise the team fell in love with before the draft.

The team wraps up its rookie minicamp today. Sanchez will then return to USC to finish school. He graduates May 15. After that, the competition with Kellen Clemens for the starting job will begin in earnest.

The Jets find themselves in one of the great NFL conundrums - whether to throw the rookie quarterback into the fire or let him sit and absorb things from the sideline for a while. Head coach Rex Ryan made it clear Friday that he will not hesitate to start Sanchez despite the 22-year-old's lack of experience. He reiterated that yesterday.

"I certainly understand why [teams sit rookie quarterbacks]," Ryan said. "It's a position that it's hard to buy experience and all that, but if a guy has that kind of ability where you think he can help your Football team then I think you have to give that guy that opportunity."

Since 2002, NFL teams have taken 21 quarterbacks in the first round (not counting this year's crop). Of those 21, four started the season-opener as a rookie. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco proved it could work last year, leading the Falcons and Ravens, respectively, to the playoffs. David Carr (2002) and Kyle Boller (2003) did not have the same kind of success in Houston and Baltimore.

Sanchez said he wants to start, but knows it's the coaches' decision. Not that he won't lobby a little.

"It's my job to put the pressure on them and say, 'Hey, look I'm ready to go now,' and then they decide," Sanchez said.

Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer went through this before when he was San Diego's offensive coordinator in 2004 and the team traded their first-round pick, Eli Manning, for the Giants' No. 1 pick, Philip Rivers. The Chargers had Rivers sit his entire rookie season behind Drew Brees.

"I think if he's the best player you want to play him," Schottenheimer said. "I think there's benefits to both. I think Philip Rivers benefited from sitting behind Drew. I know in Baltimore they felt like Flacco gave them the best chance to win, so they played him. I think that you'll know and hopefully we'll know. Whoever the best guy is we'll play him."

This is Clemens' fourth year with the Jets , something that Schottenheimer acknowledged puts him ahead of Sanchez.

"He's got the head start," Schottenheimer said of Clemens. "He's clearly ahead in terms of system. Not that Mark's doing bad at all. He's doing well."

If Sanchez does begin the season on the bench, he has some experience to draw upon. At USC, he waited three years to start, sitting behind Matt Leinart and John David Booty. Sanchez also saw his good friend, former Trojans quarterback Carson Palmer, wait a year to play after being drafted by Cincinnati.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 6, 2009

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Amon Gordon Name: Amon Gordon
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