Spying the AFC South: August 25, 2013

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Mark Sanchez Injured

Aug 24, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) is tended to as he lies injured on the field after taking a hit from New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich (not pictured) during the fourth quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a trip outside of the AFC South and look at a developing story that could affect the Titans in one of their early preseason games. That story involves a shoulder injury to New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, an injury that falls into one of Rex Ryan’s dumbest coaching decisions.

Sanchez entered the fourth quarter of the Jets’ third preseason game. He replaced Geno Smith, who squandered his chance at a starting job when he tossed three interceptions. Although Sanchez finished 5-of-6 for 72 yards, he suffered a right shoulder injury on a hit from New York Giants defensive lineman Marvin Austin. Sanchez had an MRI on his throwing shoulder to determine the severity of that injury. Results were inconclusive. He’s listed as day-to-day.

The Titans will host the Jets on Sep. 29. There are five weeks between now and that Week 4 matchup. Is that enough time for Sanchez to fully recover? Will this injury have a lingering effect on his throwing shoulder?

Smith doesn’t appear anywhere near ready to operate an NFL offense. His teammates appeared frustrated with how the injury happened—letting a potential starting quarterback play in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.

The Jets won in overtime, 24-21. In the short term, they won their second preseason game of the 2013-14 NFL season. In the long term, Ryan’s decision may cost the Jets some regular-season wins—not to mention his job.

More importantly, it could give the Titans a huge advantage in Week 4.