[Edit by John B, 09/16/13 11:26 AM EDT ] Many have speculated the Jets planted this story just to keep Geno from feeling too comfortable with Mark Sanchez on IR. That seems like a distinct possibility, much more than the notion there are people with the Jets who actually think Simms is some sort of answer.
Adam Schefter has a bizarre tweet out this evening.
Within Jets organization, QB Matt Simms has some real support to play. Should Geno Smith struggle, worth watching.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 15, 2013
Given the way this team is covered in the media, this would not be worth even noting if it came from certain personalities. Schefter is almost universally respected for his work as an insider so this does carry a bit of weight.
It is unclear how widespread this support is, but I find the notion of Simms working as a starter as highly questionable. Yes, he lit up the preseason. He was playing against fringe roster players. He was playing against vanilla defenses. He was facing opponents who did not build their gameplans around stopping him. Simply put, his performance in the preseason was so different from what he would be facing in the regular season that it is inapplicable to evaluating what he would do in a regular season game. He would be looking at defensive fronts and passing windows he has never seen before.
Before anybody says, "It may have been preseason, but it means something," stop. Don't be the person who makes me go through the long list of preseason superstars who never amounted to beans in the NFL.
Even if you believe that a preseason game against fringe players and change constitute an adequate sample size to declare Simms a viable NFL starter, also realize that Simms was a really bad quarterback in the SEC. Many of his major stats in college were worse than the stats Mark Sanchez posted in the NFL. Think of how they would translate. There are good college quarterbacks who cannot improve enough to succeed in the NFL. The chasm between bad college quarterback and good NFL quarterback will require an almost unprecedented improvement.
Beyond this, Simms showed some disturbing tendencies in these preseason games. There were times where it looked like he just trusted his arm and threw the ball as hard as he could instead of making a read, and he got away with throws that would be interceptions if he made a habit.
If Geno Smith gets hurt, sure Simms can start. If the Jets ever decide that Geno's presence in the lineup will hinder his future development, by all means play Simms. If the Jets are just looking to win, those who are calling for Simms might be in for a bitter disappointment should they ever get their wish. Simms is a very raw developmental prospect.
Geno is a much better prospect. If the Jets are going to spend a year losing and trying to improve a quarterback, it should be Geno.
The idea that Simms should go in feels like an ultimate example of grass is always greener thinking.