David Gawkowski

Why The Jets Must Start Simms Instead Of Geno

Created on Nov. 21, 2013 6:19 AM EST

Shortly after the Jets were demolished in Buffalo last weekend and Geno Smith was benched for the second time in three games, the Jets announced that Smith would remain the starter. But, should he? Smith now ranks 32nd among 33 qualified quarterbacks in QB rating. Only Josh Freeman is behind him. After a subpar first half, Smith imploded in the second half and was clearly troubled by the Bills' pass rush and tough wind conditions. He threw passes off target and off his back foot. Some blame must fall on the sieve-like offensive line. But make no mistake, much of the loss rests squarely on the shoulders of Smith and his four turnovers (all in Jets' territory). 

In contrast, Matt Simms looked good. Just as he did in preseason, he showed off a strong arm and moved the Jets down the field. Granted, it was garbage time, but he was certainly not overwhelmed by the moment. At the very least, he appears to be a capable game manager that would limit turnovers and let the Jets' defense do their thing. Here are six additional reasons the Jets should seriously consider benching Geno Smith and give Matt Simms a start. 

1) Accountability
Rex Ryan has rarely held his quarterbacks accountable for their poor performance. Mark Sanchez retained his starting job for far too long last year during a miserable season. What message does it send to the rest of the team when a player who is not playing well is allowed to continue playing? Players must be held accountable. 

2) Geno Smith wasn't supposed to start this year anyway. 
In an ideal world, Geno Smith would not even be starting this year. He's had to learn a new system on the fly in one of the toughest cities to play quarterback. He's been rushed and yet has shown great promise, which is a credit to him. The experience he has already gained is valuable. But, he's ranked 32nd in the league, which pretty obviously shows he's not ready yet.

3) There's nothing to lose.
It's often said that no one is more popular on a football team than the backup quarterback. Because you can't dislike what you haven't seen yet. But, let's face it, this team isn't going to the Super Bowl. If Simms plays well, having two capable young quarterbacks is a good problem to have. If he doesn't, there's no long-term damage done.  

4) Trending downwards
It would make sense to keep Smith as a starter if he appeared to be improving each week, but the opposite is true. He is simply alternating serviceable starts with terrible ones. In Tennessee, Cincinnati and Buffalo, he gave the Jets virtually zero chance to stay in the game. Those were the Jets' last three road games and they have another tough road game this week in Baltimore. Who would you trust more right now against the Baltimore defense? The quarterback who has turned the ball over 20 times in his last four games, or Simms? 

5) There's a good chance Smith is hurting.
Smith was on his back for several minutes in the first quarter against the Bills after a vicious hit. He shook it off, but didn't look the same. He's been sacked 34 times this year, which is the third highest in the league, and been knocked around like a pinata on a weekly basis. Taking a week or two off could help him get healthy and regain some strength and quickness.   

6) Benching Geno doesn't mean you're giving up on him. 
At this point, it could benefit Smith to take a break and watch from the sidelines. His confidence is shaken and if he continues to play poorly, it may only get worse. He could still be re-installed back as starter later in the season and it would be with a clean slate. In the meantime, let's see what Simms can do. 

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