After an abysmal game, Geno Smith found himself on the bench early in the fourth quarter. Smith finished the game completing 8 of his 23 passing attempts for 103 yards, 3 interceptions, and 0 touchdowns. Replacing Smith was backup quarterback Matt Sims. Sims completed 4 of his 6 passes for 60 yards and 1 touchdown. Rex Ryan made it clear that he was going to start Geno Smith in week 12. Ryan had this to say:
"We'll look at everything as we go, but again, but I don't think it's fair to place it on one man.We have to take a hard look at what we're doing, but I would say Geno is our starting quarterback against Baltimore next week." (ESPNNewYork.com)
Obviously it is not fair to sit Smith for a poor performance, but throughout the season Smith and the Jets have been inconsistent. Many feel that Smith will progress with time, but his window is short. Simms is obviously a backup and should be viewed as one. Remember when Greg McElroy stepped in and replaced Mark Sanchez during a week 16 matchup against San Diego? He was sacked 11 times and had a fumble paired with an interception. Now McElroy is a member of the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. Putting Simms in for Smith shouldn't be a move that is questioned. It was clear the game against Buffalo was out of hand, and Smith wouldn't have benefitted by playing in the remainder of the fourth quarter.
It is somewhat comforting to know that Simms is a fairly efficient back up. The Jets were aware the game was out of reach. Despite losing, Simms was able to step in and get some game experience. Simms comes from a long line of quarterbacks. He is the son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, and the brother of former NFL journeyman Chris Simms. He played high school football at national powerhouse Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, New Jersey. He was an all state quarterback who was praised for his arm strength. Simms decided to continue his career at Louisville where he saw limited playing time as a freshman. Due to some off field issues, Simms left Louisville and played at El Camino College located in Torrance, California. After playing at El Camino, he enrolled at Tennessee where he participated in spring practices. He started in numerous games for Tennessee facing SEC caliber competition. He never put up impressive numbers, but despite his average production he signed with the Jets in 2012. He would be waived after the 2012 training camp and re-sign as a reserve with Gang Green during December of 2012.
During the 2013 preseason, Simms saw playing time against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He completed all five of his passing attempts for 73 yards. In a preseason showdown with the Giants, Simms completed 6 of his 10 passes for 120 yards and touchdown. During the final preseason game against the Eagles, the 25 year old back up played the whole game completing 33 of his 45 passing attempts for 285 yards.
Simms was fairly poised against Buffalo. He has somewhat of an unorthodox throwing motion, but he shows that he can put good velocity on the ball. Numerous analysts have stated that Simms has a "cannon". Through solid preseason play, Simms has most certainly earned his spot on the Jets roster. The Jets had little to play for at the end of the beatdown from Buffalo. It can be said that the Bills defense wasn't playing as nearly as hard as they were in the beginning, but regardless of the level of play Simms was able to gain experience.
Coming up, the Jets will need to prepare for a week 12 showdown with the Baltimore Ravens. The Bills pass defense was ranked 22nd in the league. Baltimore's pass defense is currently ranked 20th in the league. The Jets will need to fix many flaws coming into this game. Between poor secondary play, sub-par offensive line production, and lackluster quarterbacking Gang Green needs to dig deep to get a win. Geno Smith needs to mature quickly. Technically Smith is a rookie, but given the role he's assumed he needs to be a leader. The Jets need Smith to step up and play like a true leader. He doesn't need to put up absurd numbers, but he does need to play efficiently and smartly. Rex Ryan has given Smith is support, but he can easily lose it if he doesn't start fixing his flaws.
As for Matt Simms, he needs to continue to accept his role and work hard. At any given time he can find himself stepping on the field for the Jets. It is insane to think that Simms should start over Smith, but Smith should feel pressured by Simms to perform at a higher level. Simms appeared to be ready today. Will he continue to be prepared? Only time will tell... hopefully he can continue to be a solid backup.