The New York Jets were completely manhandled by the Buffalo Bills during yesterday’s 37-14 blowout loss, and rookie quarterback Geno Smith was benched for the second time this season. Smith had possibly his worst game as a pro, completing just 8/23 passes for 103 yards and 3 INTs, while being sacked four times and fumbling twice, with one lost.
Rex Ryan chose to spare Smith further punishment after the third quarter, inserting backup Matt Simms into the game. Simms completed 4/6 passes for 60 yards and 1 TD. Simms’ solid performance has led to some discussion that the Jets could have a quarterback controversy on their hands, and some people are arguing that the Jets need to bench Smith in favor of Simms.
Such a decision would be a major mistake from the Jets. Simms’ NFL career statistics are 7/13 for 77 yards and 1 TD in two brief appearances. He looked good yesterday, but there is nothing in his collegiate or NFL background that gives any indication that he is capable of being a quality starting caliber quarterback or an upgrade over Smith.
If you look further at Simms’ performance yesterday, it is easy to see the flaws. Smith was under heavy pressure all game, and the line is largely to blame for his poor performance. However, by the time Simms came in, the Bills had removed several key defenders and stopped blitzing, making both the line and the quarterback’s jobs much easier. Secondly, Simms did not take care of the ball any better than Smith, he was just luckier. Simms hit Bills corner Leodis McKelvin in the chest in the endzone, and somehow McKelvin dropped what should have been the easiest interception of his career. If he had hung on, this would be an entirely different narrative.
When the Jets drafted Smith in the second round back in April, it was well known that he had a ton of developing to do. Unfortunately, games such as yesterday’s are part of that process. Smith is a rookie with 10 games of experience in a pro system, and he still needs time. The Bills play an attacking style of defense that is very confusing to most young quarterbacks, and Smith struggled to adapt. He will learn how to deal with such aggressive defenses with experience, and yesterday was a learning experience.
At 5-5, the Jets have exceeded all preseason expectations, and Smith is a big part of that. The team believes that he is the future of the organization, and they need to be patient with him. Simms will probably never be a starter, and he certainly isn’t the next Tom Brady. The backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town, and right now that is all Simms is. The Jets need to stick with Smith and continue to develop him, because he gives them their best chance for long term success.