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Rex Ryan: Sanchez was never a franchise quarterback, Geno didn’t help himself

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 17: Geno Smith #7, Mark Sanchez #6 and Greg McElroy #14 of the New York Jets look on from the sidelines during their preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on August 17, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

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Rex Ryan reflected recently on his two quarterbacks during his six seasons as the Jets’ head coach, and he doesn’t sound like he has warm memories of either Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith.

Ryan told ESPN.com that he never thought, even when the Jets took Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft, that Sanchez was a franchise quarterback.

“With Sanchez, I knew he wasn’t going to be a franchise quarterback, but I thought he’d be good enough to win with,” Ryan said. “With Sanchez, we just couldn’t have it anymore. The boneheaded interceptions, especially in the red zone, it was mind boggling. Unfortunately, Mark never really got better. I think that was the disappointing thing to me.”

Once the Jets drafted Smith as Sanchez’s replacement, Ryan says, G.M. John Idzik didn’t put the right pieces around Smith -- and Smith didn’t make himself get better.

“I don’t think we helped Geno by any stretch of the imagination,” Ryan said. “We never added anything that could help him. And he didn’t help himself, either. It was that combination.”

Ryan put together a great defense that got the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons there, but the offense never developed, and Ryan’s defense declined in quality. Perhaps with better quarterbacks, things would have been different for Ryan. He seems to think so.