New York Jets Fans – Give Us The Next Guy!

Joe Caporoso on New York Jets fans enduring love for 3rd and 4th string quarterbacks

If you want to be a popular quarterback with New York Jets fans, your best best is to slide as far down the depth chart as possible. We know the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy in town but here with the Jets, the third and fourth stringers have truly become the belles of the ball.

After playing a respectable fourth quarter and overtime in last week’s pre-season game, Matt Simms is now the “hot” name. There are an alarmingly high number of Jets fans, “journalists” (or whatever we call Mike Lupica these days) and other assorted voices calling for Simms to “just get a chance.” No, really. There is a large section of people following this team who really think Matt Simms could be a viable starter for week one and there is another large section who thinks Greg McElroy should be the guy.

If Simms goes out and plays well tonight, I can’t even imagine the commotion. Nevermind that he will be playing against the 2nd and 3rd stringers of the one of the league’s projected worst defenses who will be running nothing but vanilla, high-school level schemes, if Simms throws a few TDs…he’s shown enough!

We’ve seen this movie before. This is fan-base who has aggressively called for Brooks Bollinger, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge in the past.

There is a reason Matt Simms wasn’t drafted. There is a reason he was the Jets fourth quarterback last summer before being cut. There is a reason nobody signed him until the Jets decided to bring him back as their 4th quarterback this summer. The Jets don’t know something the rest of the league doesn’t. Simms has been their fourth quarterback the majority of summer, literally receiving zero work with the starting line-up and likely minimal work with even the second string. Sure, he has a nice arm and maybe he can develop into a backup down road but how about he gets a season under his belt as a third quarterback first? Somehow I’m doubtful he’s ready to make the leap from 4th string to 1st string because he completed 11 passes against the Giants third string secondary.

As for the McElroy fanatics. There is something they always conveniently forget to mention: He got a start last year, against a poor defense and was completely overmatched. He got his chance, played badly and was injured. He is injured again now and he was injured in his rookie year. He isn’t durable and doesn’t have NFL pocket presence or arm strength. Stop trumping up his performance against Arizona last year. He completed 5 passes for 29 yards and had an interception incorrectly overruled because of a bad call by the referee.

It is amazing how quickly some Jets fans have washed their hands of Geno Smith. There is no question he was bad last week but that’s it? Time to throw in the towel on this year’s 2nd round pick and hand the reigns to Simms? Certain Jets fans talk about a desire to win right now but ignore that Mark Sanchez has been the only Jets quarterback to move the ball consistently against a starting defense in the pre-season. I don’t care how many times you watch the Butt-Fumble GIF, the Jets would be better off starting Sanchez week one than Simms or McElroy…by a wide margin.

What happens if Graham Harrell plays well in the second half tonight, should he start week one?

Don’t be so quarterback starved that you don’t think rationally. Don’t Tweet #FreeGeno an hour before the Jets/Giants game and then 4 hours later be demanding a fourth stringer you never heard until that night start week one. There are two players, barring injury, who will start this season for the Jets at quarterback – Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith. Don’t waste your breath calling for McElroy or Simms because one won’t be on the roster in 4 days and one will be inactive every Sunday.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Danish Jes

    Thank you!!!! Even though I doubt they will, every one of these crazy jet-fans should read this.

  • KAsh

    I am hoping to see Simms play against (and with) the second string tonight. You always hope to see a player play well, improve, and emerge as a competent alternative. But, barring injury to both Mark and Geno, Simms is not starting this year. The coaching staff might still decide to go with McElroy. Simms just does not have the playing time against first string defenses and he has not exactly outmatched and carved up the third string defenses he has faced. I hope the team keeps him, I hope he continues to improve, and I hope he gets playing time with the ones and twos next year after either Mark or Geno departs.

  • John C

    I’m guilty – I’m not saying Simms is the best QB we have, but to deny that he’s had the least number of negative plays this preseason would be wrong. His arm looks as good as anyone on the Jets.

    I do like McElroy, but would agree that he seems fragile like Chad Pennington. But,to blame his lackluster showing in his one start last year, solely on him, is unfair considering he was sacked 11 times in the game. Did he hold the ball too long? YES (but so do Geno and Mark), but he was being chased right from the snap on most plays. He probably could have been sacked 18 times.

    I never thought Bollinger or Ratliff were anything to consider, but Erik Ainge outperformed Sanchez in preseasons past, and his failures were addiction related, not talent related.

    To imply that the backup is never really an option, and only a pipe-dream of delusional fans, makes me wonder what the TOJ crew would have thought of Tom Brady in his first year.

  • Gary

    Ok, hear me out here. Geno Smith started last week and, in my opinion, clearly displayed that he was not ready to start in the NFL yet. Now this does not mean that he won’t ever be ready to start in the NFL, and not even that he won’t be ready later this year, but right now he isn’t. He continually failed to look off his first target, and also fell victim to the dreaded “waited for his receiver to get open” plot line (which is what has doomed Mark Sanchez).

    Having said all this, in my mind it would be best for the Jets and Geno Smith, for him to sit out week 1 and have some time to get some more practice reps and get up to NFL speed. There is nothing wrong with a QB not starting right away as a rookie (Kaep, Rodgers etc). Now the question comes, who actually should start week 1?

    Optimally, the Jets would’ve signed a veteran QB this off-season for cheap (Kolb, I know he has a concussion but who knows if he would’ve again as a Jet) and if Garrard worked out, this would’ve been the perfect time for that guy to start. But that player does not exist on this roster. Next up, Mark Sanchez, as much as I hate to say it, his injury does kind of hurt as it would be a nice situation to allow Geno to develop as well as giving Sanchez a last last last last chance. Yet now he’s injured, so he’s also out. Next up, Greg McElroy, he’s also hurt, so he’s out. Finally we get to Matt Simms.

    Why not start Matt Simms? Because he’s not an NFL QB and he will be drastically overmatched and essentially will guarantee the Jets a loss. Why should we start Matt Simms? To help Geno Smith, and why not? Haha

    I really do believe that for the future of this franchise and Geno Smith being the QB, it would be the most helpful for him to not start week 1 and have some time to develop. Why not use Matt Simms as a place holder until Geno is ready (in my mind Sanchez’s injury marks the end of his Jet career).

    That is all, I think it is a logical reasoning for Simms to start, yet has nothing to do with my thinking Simms actually is a starting quarter back.

  • John C

    I agree with Gary. Sitting Smith this week means no “game time” reps, which I believe, may make Simms the best choice for Week 1 if Sanchez can’t play. I’m not throwing in the towel on Smith (or Sanchez for that matter), but if Simms does well tonight, even though it would be against 2nd stringers, he will seem like the one most ready to play Week 1. Remember, his Dad was a “dumb” number 1 pick from Morehead State – that turned out OK didn’t it?

  • Dima

    And here come the calls for Matt Simms to start. Him and his Herculean 6.5 YPA against the scrubliest of scrubs.

  • NJ Pete

    ONLY THE FACTS…… Mark sit down you are hurt as well as being insecure, not good for an NFL QB. Geno has not looked good at all. But Now to the MAIN story hands down. This kid Matt Simms, has all the tangibles of a good NFL QB along with the pedigree. NFL arm without question. Has proved it even with second squad. Today his only mis-Q was in the end-zone (safety). The left side of the Oline (Smith and Winters), sucked terribly. But for a few bad location throws, there were a slew of dropped catchable balls. Hence, this kid will be a great asset to this team as a starter if they truly want to put a winning product on the field. Why not have Geno Smith learn from him. Oh! yea,,, its about the damn contracts. The Jets brass better put a winner on the field immediately or your seats will be empty and we the fans suffer another miserable season. Same ol’ same ol’. Can anyone who thinks they are football savvy not imagine how good Simms would be behind a starting Oline. This kid is ready to start the season and he is hungry with grit. So hopefully the pitiful coaching staff and GM will decide to swallow……(get your minds out of the gutter), their pride and make the correct decision for once right out of the gate…..START MATT SIMMS you fools.

  • Dima
  • KAsh

    Wow. Where were the facts? How could Simms possibly look good behind or with the starters when he has not had even a single snap with them? You really think that the coaching staff and the players have never seen Simms outplay others in practice or that they ignores it? Do you remember that Simms was the worst QB in the Green-White Scrimmage who got pulled after a single series that ended in an interception against the third string? He was so bad that the guy who caught the interception got cut the next day.

    This is what happens when fans start trying to play coach.

  • John B

    You can’t knock Simms because he’s playing againest the second stringers . Don’t forget he is playing WITH second stringers also and if that’s the only time he gets in a game, how else can he prove himself ? Forget McElroy, he has no arm strength. Simms should make this team and be allowed to develop.

  • I have been a frustrated Jets Fan for more that 50 years. I read, agree or sometimes refute the rants that my fellow fans post at times. The big deal this week is who should be the starting QB? I agree that everyone would like to see Sanchez become the QB he was in his first two seasons, but, do not forget, the support group he had when he had those season greats. A great line, receivers that catch rather than drop passes, and a great defense can make any QB or coach look great.

    I have no doubt that Geno, Mark and Matt are the three best QB’s for New York.

    Don’t forget that Matt comes from good stock in his father. His dad will be a great resource throughout his career in the NFL and in life. Phil Simms is a class act. Matt will be too.

    Geno needs more time to transition from college to the pros. Even semi-pro football is different from college. The pressure is not just physical, but, extremely mental as well. And the penalties for mistakes are much more costly than getting benched for poor performance. Geno will be fine given the right amount of playing time, and the support of his line and receivers.

    As for Mark, he has proven both in college, and in his first two years that he has the ability to win. I think he has lost a lot of self confidence, and he needs to get that back. He has also suffered from some mental mistakes. However, his greatest error, was to get caught up in the high-life that comes with money and fame. The NFL is a dream of every pee-wee football player and their parents across the globe. They work hard developing throughout their careers from pee-wee thru college, and yet they never are prepared to handle all the money, fans, and night life that they get thrown into. Mark needs to live, eat, and breath football from July thru February, and be a leader on and off the field.

    Lastly, Rex Ryan should become a quiet giant. He needs to stop engaging the media and fans and writing checks without knowing if the funds are in the bank. He is a defensive genius, and is proving that by the changes this year now that he is providing personal oversight again.

  • Jim G

    Why would any Jets fan want Sanchez to become the QB that he was in his first 2 years? In those first 2 years he was statistically ranked in the bottom third of the league’s starting QB’s. As a matter of fact he has been ranked in the bottom third for all of his 4 years here. Aside from a couple of “charmed” games in the playoffs those first 2 years he has been pretty awful overall.

    Is this what we have evolved into as “championship starved” Jets fans, the desire to have a starting QB ranked at, or near the bottom of the league?

  • Dima

    In his first two years at least Sanchez showed some clutch, but recently he just looks beat all the time.

    These discussions are moot at this point. Geno is going to start. Hopefully he’ll be sheltered by Marty so that our defense can pick apart the steadily-declining Josh Freeman.

  • Marc L

    Simms DID look good against a hungry bunch trying to make a good impression. That 2nd string is trying for the last few roster spots. McElroy is too much like Pennington, smart but with a poor arm. However he is hurt too much. And is hurt now.

    So let geno develop, go with mark as long as we can.

  • joeydefiant

    Thank you Matt Simms! The Jets can finally rid themselves of McElroy. He’s so great I’m sure 31 teams will be lining up to sign him and the Jets will get another comp pick for him. (sarcasm). Maybe the Daily News will hire GMac.

  • David

    I could understand discounting someone on the Jets if the Jets had Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, or someone like that ahead of them. But what have Geno Smith or Mark Sanchez shown that makes you say they are any better of an option than a Matt Simms or Greg McElroy? I understand Geno is a rookie, but when he played the Giants, he looked like Mark Sanchez 2 with poor decisions, 3 INT’s, and an in-excusable safety.

    And keep in mind too, Matt Simms was playing with a bunch of 2nd and 3rd stringers himself against, as was said in an earlier comment, people who are very hungry to make an NFL team. He didn’t turn the ball over, led the Jets in what basically amounted to 1 preseason game to 23 points, and had a completion percentage that had to be approaching 70-75%. I could argue very easily right now, based on how they played on the field, that Matt Simms was the best QB of the NY Jets and Geno Smith would be hanging by a thread at #3 or #4.

  • John C

    A dollar and a dream? Anyone who states that Matt Simms accomplishments should be discounted, because he was playing against 2nd and 3rd stringers, was just not watching the game, and makes their own analysis capabilities look questionable:

    Accurate : Check
    Strong Arm: Check
    Scrambles: Check
    Looks Off defenders: Check
    Leadership Ability: Check
    No Turnovers in 60 passes: Check
    Crazy Hair without a Stylist or Headband: Check
    Pedigree/Genes: Check

    Watching Simms, it was not hard to imagine him sitting with Dad, watching film and discussing technique. Quite frankly, Matt Simms has shown that he can do everything a QB needs to do. Is he an UDFA – Yes. So was Romo. Brady was a 6th rounder. There are probably other comparisons as well. He should certainly make the team, and should not be discounted solely because he was undrafted.

  • John C

    Hey Joe C. I was reading your tweets in the sidebar, and saw this one:

    “There are #Jets fans on my TL who wanted McElroy to start after the Lions pre-season game, who now want him cut so Simms can start week 1”

    I had to defend myself, and all the other fans, who are foolish enough to hope that maybe, just once, the Backup might actually be better! Yes, we might have drank some of that Simms Kool-Aid, but it tasted good!

    If the “open competition” was based on performance in the games, after Game 2, McElroy was the best – of course, he’s fragile, and got hurt. After Game 3, Simms was coming on, and Sanchez got hurt. After Game 4, Simms was the best, and the only healthy QB.

    The point I wanted to make though, was that most of us don’t necessarily want McElroy cut, but, there is still some realist in us, and we understand that Sanchez won’t be cut, and I know I’m still convinced that Rex wants no part of McElroy . So he becomes the odd man out.

    p.s. No I don’t think Mike Campbell should start (Ryan Spadola maybe 🙂

  • There was a reason why Brady, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo and Matt Simms were not first round draft picks – the scouts watched their college game film and how they performed (or didnt perform) at the combine and reported back to their respective teams : ” No.. we dont feel that this kid has what it takes to be an NFL QB”

    Obviously those scouts were wrong about Brady, Warner and to a lesser degree Romo,,, maybe Simms will prove those experts wrong once again.
    He would be a nice story and great news to a borderline laughingstock franchise that hasnt gotten it right at the QB position in 40 years.

  • Angel

    Simms can be a starter in the NFL.

    Simms is the real deal.

    That’s not to say that Mark and Geno aren’t worthy of starting… I’m just saying Wayne Chrebet wasn’t drafted either and he had a pretty good career with the Jets.

    It takes a lot of nerve to say Simms can’t succeed without ever giving him a shot… and I don’t mean that in a good way.

  • twoshady

    All i know is the it was exciting to watch Simms play and i havent felt that way about a Jets QB in a long time. You can’t deny his intensity and the bullets he throws. I had hoped for awhile now that he would break onto the roster. Mostly it is because my Dad was a big Giants fan and I watched Phil Simms his entire career. It’s not about “the Next Guy”… it’s about realizing potential. I think Matt Simms has a bunch of it.