If ever a team was backed into a corner, it’s the Jets.
The screams for Geno Smith’s head on a platter are getting louder by the week. Smith completed just nine of 22 passes for 127 yards and two interceptions in Sunday’s 19-3 loss at Baltimore. Should Rex Ryan pull Smith? Should he maybe have done it a few weeks ago?
If the Jets had a viable backup on the roster, the answer to those questions would have been yes. Sorry, Jets fans, but Matt Simms, also a rookie, is not considered a viable backup. Simms has been out of college for two years, but he wasn’t on a roster last season, which means, for all intent and purposes, he’s a rookie. David Garrard isn’t physically ready to play either. That means the Jets are going to have to make do with Smith.
Pulling Smith for Simms at this point would send a message to him and fans that he isn’t the answer and that the Jets wasted a second-round pick. To Smith’s credit, he has handled the criticism well. He hasn’t lashed out through the media and he answers every question thrown his way.
Said Smith: “Yeah, I completely shut [the criticism] out. One, you have to. And two, I always will, because I know what it takes to win and what it takes to be a good quarterback, and it doesn’t have anything to do with anything outside of this building. It takes preparation and hard work, so that’s something I’ll continue to do.”
As for Ryan, who confirmed to reporters on Monday that Smith will start against the Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, all indications are that he will stick with the rookie as long as the squad is in the playoff hunt.
Even if the Jets fall out of it, with as many as eight college quarterbacks expected to be taken in the first and second rounds, staying with Smith may be the best option. With a lack of star power at the skill positions, Simms, who people will continue to scream for, wouldn’t likely be any better than Smith.