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Jets' Mark Sanchez says he 'earned right to start' preseason opener vs. Lions

Mark Sanchez says he "earned the right to start" the New York Jets' preseason opener at Detroit on Friday night.

The quarterback, in a tightly contested competition with rookie Geno Smith, says Wednesday that he thinks he's putting together a good training camp and never thinks about not playing — even in the preseason.

Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg announced Tuesday that Sanchez would get the nod over Smith because he's the incumbent, and Mornhinweg added that Sanchez "earned it."

Both Sanchez and Smith have had solid camps, although the rookie's performance has dipped slightly. Smith had "no reaction" when he was told Sanchez would start, adding that "of course" he thinks Sanchez earned the opportunity. He adds, "I fully back Mark," but says that the competition is "still open."