Benching Geno Doesn't Mean It's Over For Him; Gang Green Needs A Spark

By Jason Keidel
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He inherited his father’s mane. Let’s see if he has his game.

Matt Simms has lived the lovable role of backup quarterback, always the most popular player in any NFL city. He’s the fair-haired son of a Meadowlands legend. He looks the part. And now it’s time to see if he can play it.

For those who think the Jets’ current starter is getting the shaft, bearing the weight of an entire team in total collapse, remember that the QB always gets an unfair share of wins and losses. It comes with the job.

Sunday wasn’t a referendum on Geno Smith. This season was. And if Mr. Smith is as tough and team-minded as he’s indicated, he will sit for the good of Gang Green.

And this doesn’t mean Smith won’t be the best quarterback for the Jets next year or the next decade. Many fine, even Hall of Fame quarterbacks, have been benched. Tom Landry couldn’t decide between Craig Morton and Roger Staubach. Terry Bradshaw spun through the revolving door during his first few years.

And Matt Simms’ old man once had to fight for his job. Yes, Phil Simms had to convince Bill Parcells that he was better than Scott Brunner. So sitting isn’t a prelude to a life of pine.

Either way, Smith looks and acts overwhelmed, burps the ball to the opponent way too much, and has a microscopic passer rating, total QBR, or any metric that measures his position. It’s obvious the Jets are coaching around him, not behind him.

The Jets not only didn’t score a touchdown in Baltimore; they never even threatened to score a touchdown. There was a Big Ten circa 1979 feel to their offense on Sunday. Their allergy to the end zone has to be cured in order for them to reassert themselves in the playoff chase.

There’s this loud, laughable notion that the Jets’ season ended Sunday. The Tennessee Titans, at 5-6, are currently in the playoffs. The Jets are also 5-6, with three home games in December.

Granted, the Jets are tied with three teams who defeated them (Titans, Steelers, Ravens), but if you scan the last five games, the Jets could easily win four of them. They play Miami twice, Oakland, Cleveland, and Carolina. Out of that group, only the Panthers are clearly better than the Jets.

The Jets have the violent kind of defense and rugged running game made for frigid playoff football, the only kind that will be played in the AFC this year. All the teams pining for the playoffs reside in colder climes.

The Jets just need to get in. And despite their last two games, they are quite capable of sneaking in. And we’ve seen what happens when the Jets slide through the back door. But they need some stability under center for that to happen.

Doesn’t it feel like yesterday Mark Sanchez was the answer? The trip from outhouse to penthouse is swift in the NFL, so is the reverse. Maybe Matt Simms is the answer. Maybe he’s equally overwhelmed. Maybe he’s somewhere in between.

But starting Simms doesn’t mean ending Smith.

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel

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