Broadway Carousel: Bench Geno Smith?

After a turnover filled Sunday afternoon in Nashville, Tennessee, outrage has begun in the Geno Smith era. Not your Josh Freeman-Greg Schiano type outrage, but rather your typical New York Jets outrage. The type that the team isn’t even aware of because it’s created by know-it-all media types and a schizophrenic fan base. “The Jets need a game manager”, “Start Matt Simms”, “Give Brady Quinn a shot”, “Pull Geno, he doesn’t have what it takes”, just to throw around a couple of intelligent quotes I stumbled upon yesterday. Are we really talking about creating a broadway carousel in New York? 

I’m going to ruin this movie before it even begins: anyone clamoring for Geno Smith to be benched after a quarter of a season is clueless. They don’t have an idea of how this league works, how a quarterback is developed, and how vital it is for a front office to stand behind a high draft pick.

It’s true, Mark Sanchez was in line to start the season before his shoulder injury. Geno didn’t seem ready to be thrown into the fire, starting for a team with limited weapons, an unproven run game, and a middle of the pack offensive line. After Sanchez went down, the Jets had to choose a quarterback between their second round draft pick, a 6th year back up who has shown nothing, and a former UDFA that couldn’t even figure out college ball.

Let’s start with Brady Quinn, a guy in his sixth year in the NFL and not much to show for it. The same guy that threw two touchdowns and eight interceptions last year for the Chiefs in ten games played. Brady Quinn, the quarterback that couldn’t win the Cleveland Browns starting job when they were begging him to. Just because a quarterback is not talented does not make him a “game manager.” Game managers, much like Alex Smith, don’t turn the ball over and control the field. Is Brady Quinn that guy? A career completion percentage under 54 doesn’t exactly suggest that, neither does the 64.4 quarterback rating.

On to my favorite candidate, Matt Simms. The classic preseason all-pro, lighting up secondaries littered with players no longer in the league. First off, Simms did make major improvements this offseason. He’s always had the arm strength, but rarely proved himself as a reliable quarterback even dating back to college football. He lost his starting job at Tennessee from awful performance but the Jets gave him a tryout because of his raw skills. His improved play this season is what you hope to see from a project, but that’s exactly why Matt Simms has no business starting: He is a project. You don’t throw a project player into vital NFL games, the same player that has had no reps with the starting offense or any of the playmakers involved in it.

The game manager argument is a valid one, but the Jets do not have a game manager available to them. The Jets have a player in Geno Smith with all the talent in the world, a guy that was a proven winner in college football (even though West Virginia’s defense was putrid), who has had mixed performances through his first four professional games. For fans to clamor for his benching, well, welcome to New York kid. For the media to clamor for his benching, now that’s just ignorant. Rex Ryan and John Idzik chose the rookie, it is time to stand behind him through the ups and downs.

  • David J.

    I believe the Jets need to run the ball more and do some short and manageable throws off play action to limit his mistakes. When the opponent has 1 on 1 matchups on the outside, take a shot once in a while with that arm. I think they are asking him to do too much from what I see so far.

  • David

    I agree he shouldn’t be benched after Sunday’s game (he should be given a chance to get things corrected), but let’s be honest on a couple fronts:

    1) It isn’t like we are sending Tom Brady or Peyton Manning out there to play QB.

    2) If Rex Ryan can put the #9 overall pick on the bench after 2 poor performances, why can’t he put a 2nd rounder on the bench? Let’s be honest, we have used a 1st and 2nd round pick on QB’s and quite honestly, 4 1/4 years into the process, we still don’t have a franchise QB on the roster. We still have a starting QB that yes, has flashes of brilliance, but is still as inconsistent and mediocre as a lot of other positions on the NY Jets.

    3) How do you know that Matt Simms or Brady Quinn won’t do a better job?

    4) Finally, and most importantly, isn’t the name of the game to win and to play the players that help you accomplish that? A guy who is on pace to have more turnovers in a season than Mark Sanchez had in a season sure doesn’t sound like a player who is giving us the best the chance to win. We are 2-2 and say what you want to, right in the hunt for a playoff spot. We can’t have these mistakes that put our defense in bad spots and basically gives the opposition 24 points that are really unearned. That game Sunday in Tennessee, without Geno Smith, is no more than 14-6 going to the 4th quarter instead of 31-6.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Sanchez’s injury & Garrard’s inability to stay healthy left the jets with only Geno. While I agree Geno should start next week because he is the best option next week & has the most long-term potential, I was surprised that he stayed in the game last week. Ultimately, I think that decision results from the coaching staff’s lack of confidence in Simms & Quinn.

    Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see whether the titan’s game was just a typical rookie bad game for Geno or if NFL DCs have seen something & will regularly confuse/rattle Geno.

  • Cpar14

    Stick with Geno, let him learn. QBs take time to develop,I realize last year’s crop was ahead of the curve.Let Marty and Lee mold this guy, he’ll learn from his mistakes. Geno has a good demeanor and a cannon for an arm. I would play him every second of every game.

  • Mark Phelan

    Sure start Geno. However, if he falls apart during the game sit him down. Let him think about things. Maybe put him back in the game; maybe not. But don’w leave him out there shaking in his boots to get his ass kicked.

  • Mark Phelan

    Sure start Geno. However, if he falls apart during the game sit him down. Let him think about things. Maybe put him back in the game; maybe not. But don’w leave him out there shaking in his boots to get his ass kicked.

  • Angel

    You can’t bench Geno now. The Jets pushed all their chips in the middle of the table when Mark got hurt and they chose to start Geno game 1. Now they are dealing with a rookie learning the NFL and learning the Jets system. The Jets are going to have to go down in flames with Geno.

    Personally, I would have started Matt Simms Game 1 and brought Geno along slowly. Then, after the Falcons game, I’d work Geno into the starting role. I truly believe Matt Simms would have played at a similar level, but made 1 or 2 mistakes less a game. That means, the Jets would be sitting at 3 – 1 now and Matt would probably be a Superstar.

    AND, for those of you laughing it up right now [yeah, you Connor], what if I told you Matt Simms is the second coming of Phil Simms and this kid is the real deal? Seriously, what if you knew for a fact this kid is really a chip off the old block and can have a career like his dad?

    In other words: If you could start Phil Simms at the beginning of his career now with the Jets, would you do it?

    Anyway, this point is moot. Geno shouldn’t be benched… yet.

  • Lidman

    I think you have to stick with Geno. Look the formula for Geno is different than it was for Sanchez. The Jets have opened the playbook for him. He leads the NFL in completions of 25+ yards. When Sanchez was a rookie, they ran the ball over 60% of the time.

    I certainly think Marty should call more runs, especially on the road. First it would allow this OL to grind a bit on the opposing defense, which would result in better pass blocking. Second, the Jets are running effectively and this would set up play action, down the field, where Geno has had success making plays.

    I’m not complaining about MM. I mean the WR are open, the Jets are taking shots downfield and what appeared to be an empty cupboard, doesn’t appear as empty (recent injuries not withstanding). If they just altered the play calling more, he could probably help Geno eliminate many of these mistakes. Heck, you cut Geno’s TOs by 40%, and the Jets are likely 3-1.

    That said, good things are happening. Let’s be patient.

  • Joe Barra

    Matt Simms sucked (like really sucked) in college. Why does anybody want him.

  • mike

    this is a great post. geno’s our man, guys.
    1) sitting the qb is not at all similar to sitting a cb who keeps getting burned, it means nothing that milliner was the higher pick.
    2) as mentioned in the post the two “back-up” qbs are proven to be not very good. they’re both practice squad players on any other nfl team if they’re not cut outright.
    3) a rookie qb is going to make mistakes, and sometimes they are going to snowball.
    4) he has already engineered two game-winning drives, and has the team at .500 when most considered us to be in the bottom third of the league.

    i love my fellow jets fans, but seriously, calm down and stop calling for the qb’s head. support the team for a change, other fans do it all season long!

  • David

    Here is my argument when people talk about “patience:” You don’t have the time like you used to to be “patient” with a coach or player like you used to. I have seen, especially lately, some 2nd rounders and even 3rd rounders being cut after their 1st or 2nd season.

    Jim Caldwell in Indianapolis has one bad year (And I believe more to do with Peyton being hurt than anything) and he is out the door.

    You don’t have the time to wait 3,4 years for people to “develop;” if they aren’t doing it in year 1 or early in year 2, then it is time to move on and find someone else.

  • mike

    that’s a great way to guarantee that the team will continue not to compete for a super bowl. the one thing that almost all top tier teams have in common is stability, primarily at head coach and qb. i don’t know where you’re getting your ideas from. consistency wins championships. desperate teams go 40 years without one.

  • mike

    that’s a great way to guarantee that the team will continue not to compete for a super bowl. the one thing that almost all top tier teams have in common is stability, primarily at head coach and qb. i don’t know where you’re getting your ideas from. consistency wins championships. desperate teams go 40 years without one.

  • BubbaGump


    And most of the QBs on those top tier teams either ran Pro style offenses in college or sat for at least a year…

  • mike

    screw it, you’re right jets fans. let’s bench our new qb after a 2-2 start because he’s not joe flacco. matt simms will definitely be joe flacco. let’s go with him.
    being patient as your franchise qb learns the game is so 2009.

  • Lidman

    By the way, Joe Flacco is midling. It’s nice to have your contract up for renewal, as a QB these days. I get it, they won a SB, but Joe Flacco isn’t Brady/P Manning/Rogers and, to an extent, Brees. He, alone, is not enough to carry a team and make up for deficiencies. Same with Eli..same with Big Ben…when you have good people around them, they can thrive. I can’t stand the Pats, but Tom Brady doesn’t allow them to miss a beat. In 2010 the Colts went 10-6, won the division and made the playoffs. They lost Manning for the 2011 season and went 2-14 (talk about ‘Luck’). Rogers won a SB on a team that lost 15 players to the IR. Brees has overcome a weak defense for years, and while Graham is amazing, it’s not like he’s played with a ton of HOF type skill position talent during his time in NO (the one knock would be last year, without Payton, he appeared lost.

    Who knows where Geno is going to wind up, but seems to me if they altered the play calling, just a bit, he’d make fewer mistakes. If they can control the clock and take their 4-6 shots a game, and make the opposition have to go the length of the field, against their young and improving D, they should be in the mix.

  • KAsh

    This article should have made a case for Geno. Instead, it poured mud all over Simms and Quinn.

    Great, we have a choice between crap, shit, and a turd. Lets all get excited over the turd and maybe it will taste like prime rib. Does anyone feel better about Geno by being reminded that the alternatives are horrible?

    This team has looked awesome this year: a stellar defense combined with an offense that holds its own. But Geno. The QB spot looks like the weakest link on the field. In an ideal world, Geno would have sat with a clipboard. But it is not an ideal world, so we start him and wear him out and get better options next year. So much for that.

  • Connor Rogers


    Did you read the closing paragraph or just skim through 3 sentences of the entire article? I fully believe in Geno. I also fully believe the options behind him do not deserve any praise or rally for them to play. I wouldn’t make a set judgement of a rookie QB after 4 games, especially one labeling him as a “turd.”

  • John C

    Connor – I understand the reality, that Simms won’t play unless there is an injury, or we’re totally out of it in game 13, and Geno’s threatening to surpass Sanchez’s turnover total from last year. But don’t think that the Jets are totally tied into Geno as the future. As Carolina did with Claussen/Newton, Geno could be “one and done”, if he doesn’t show enough to inspire confidence that he will overcome these problems. Idzik was part of the management that signed Matt Flynn, and then traded him, when he never started a game! I think he’ll have a quick hook if he doesn’t think it’s right.

  • Connor Rogers

    @John C:

    I completely agree with you. Geno definitely is not locked in as the future. If he doesn’t show a lot of promise and the Jets have a shot at Bridgewater, Boyd, Manziel, Murray, etc. they will go in that direction. But after only 4 games, his trial isn’t over.

  • Anthony

    I’m not sure that Geno Smith is worse than Andy Dalton is right now. In Fact I am not sure if he is worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick, Joe Flacco, Brian Hoyer, or Eli Manning either at the moment. Geno had a bad game as a rookie on the road, but the truth is, 4 games against 4 teams and 3 of them had top 10 defenses. On his second play, Geno’s top target was knocked out of the game. Santonio, Kerely, and Hill were all bumped around and two of his three top targets might not play next week. 2 of the top 3 running backs have been all but invisible so far this season. The line is not pass blocking well, and causing najor headaches with penalties and the D is struggling to cover anybody.

    Geno is a symptom, not the problem. The problem is an underdeveloped team that is over coached. This really is one of the 4 least talented offenses in the game. Make no mistake, Geno has fewer weapons than Oakland, Arizona, Buffalo, and maybe Jacksonville and Carolina too. There is 1 bonafied HR threat that is never healthy, another 5’10 former burner with more possession speed than anything, and a solid/average slot receiver. Our top TE pass catcher was out of the league last year and the No 2 is basically the Jared Jeffries of football.

    This isn’t a good team on offense, and yes, the defense has holes. It’s not the Ravens of the early 2000’s or the Bucs of the late 90’s that were made from years of awful seasons and solid drafting. The Jets have had bad drafts, been 8-8 or better, and generally been just good enough to not stockpile talent.

    This is not a good football team, it is a very well coached poor football team with holes at nearly every offensive skill position and it is starting a rookie QB with limited weapons and some troubles with turnovers at the moment.

    That said, Geno throws a wonderful deep ball, and is an absolutely terrific passer when he is able to get into a groove early (similar to pennington). He needs more possession type receivers around him and as much as it pains me to say, Braylon would probably not be the worst player in the world at the moment.

    I love the David Nelson addition, as he is a huge dude who can wall off a defender with his big body as well. I wish we had an AJ Green (hill?) who could do both possession and take the top off a defense, but for now, its kinda one or the other.

  • Geronimo

    What is with all the hamstring injuries at WR and RB over the last couple of seasons? Last year, it was the whole WR crew. I get the feeling the team is muscling up in the weight room all off-season and doing nothing to prevent this type of injury.

    Bring back the 13th man, Sal Alosi.

  • KAsh


    I don’t disagree with your conclusion. I disagree with your argument. Besides labelling Geno a “winner” (for a 7-6 record as a senior) as an afterthought at the end of it, your entire argument was a slander of Simms and Quinn. Geno’s playing football, not trying to get elected. By forgetting to add (not coming up with?) any positives to his game, you exposed just how horribly he has played. And you backed it up with your belief, your faith, in Geno.

    So, in conclusion, we have a rookie QB, who is talented, but flawed and should not have started, starting because he is backed up by an undrafted QB getting his first NFL experience and an awful journeyman QB that bounced from team to team. Rejoice.

  • Angel

    KAsh is right, Connor. Your belief in Geno is not an argument.

    Geno is curently battling it out for the weakest link out of the all the offensive positions. Right now it’s a dead heat between the WRs, RT, and QB.

  • Rex, I’m sorry but Geno Smith is one of the biggest mistakes the NJ Jets made this draft.
    I know he’s a rookie but he’s terrible. Look at the other rookies who started and succeeded. RG III, Wilson of the Seahawks, Kapernik of the 49’s, Andrew Luck. These rookies had talent and of course became standouts. Geno Smith is out of his league. I feel the Jets have another rookie who has good pedigree and has shown he has the ability to rank among the best, “Matt Simms”, he deserves a chance to keep the Jets
    offense a float. In his preseason start he shown he has a bullet of an arm & excellent accuracy while hitting his receivers. He also knows when to throw the ball away or run for the first down when the opportunity arises. Even Joe Namath is a fan of Simms. Now here is someone who knows a thing or two about quarterbacking. Rex give the ball to Matt Simms he’ll bail us out and maybe save your job! Signed a concerned Fan!

  • Connor Rogers

    Once again I think your misinterpreting the message of the article. I didn’t break down Geno Smith’s strengths in the article because there is no need to do that. The point is, you NEVER bench a rookie quarterback after 4 games (especially when the team is a competitive 2-2). Especially a rookie quarterback that is a pretty high draft selection from a first year GM. It was either go with Geno and run with him, or don’t go with him yet. The Jets chose to go with him, now they must see what they have.

  • Eric

    Connor is 100% correct. You don’t bench a QB after 4 games who has shown flashes of being capable to do the job. Yeah he’s made plenty of mistakes, some of which were really bad, but he is getting repetitions and learning how to play the position in the NFL.

    Peyton Manning threw an NFL record 27 INT’s as a rookie. John Elway (who is considered by most the best QB prospect ever) threw 7 TD’s and 14 INT’s with a 48% completion rate in 11 games as a rookie. Their teams didn’t panic because they could see the forest through the trees. I am not saying Geno Smith is going to be as good as either of those (we can only hope), but I am just trying to show that even the all-time greats struggled at first. You have to be patient.

  • Jperez

    Jets and bucs should work out a deal for Josh and Mark they both would benfit from a new fresh start

  • Joe Barra

    That would benefit noone.

  • Jim G

    Can’t believe I’m gonna say this, and I probably never will again, but I agree with Kash.

  • Jim G

    Also, you absolutely have to roll with Geno for the entire season so that you have a large sample size to evaluate him from. We are coming up on a draft that is rich with quality QB prospects, and you have to take one of those if Geno proves to not be “the guy”, after he sets the NFL single season record for turnovers (which he probably will). I’m a Jets fan, so I’ll root for him, but I think that he’s one of those guys that the game never slows down for. Our QB of the future isn’t even in the NFL yet.

  • mike

    ok, jets fans, you are seriously pissing me off right now.
    after geno wins an ugly game against a very bad buffalo team we were suddenly going straight to the playoffs and every game on the schedule was winnable.
    one week later geno has a rough start in his second career road game, and there are people who actually consider themselves fans of the team calling for matt freakin simms.
    MATT SIMMS WOULDN’T MAKE ANY OTHER ROSTER IN THE LEAGUE. jacksonville and oakland might have him on the practice squad. wanting to start him over geno because of one awful game is just so god damn asinine. anyone calling for that option now is an overgrown petulant child. who needs heads to roll after every single misfortune? didn’t you guess that this team wouldn’t be undefeated this year?
    if you are not ready to watch a qb struggle as he figures out the pro game, you should be a fan of a different team this year.
    if you’re not willing to support a rookie qb for longer than a month, you should be a baseball fan.
    shut the god damn hell up, stop complaining, and root for the god damn team.
    we really have the worst fans in the world. matt freakin simms? are you people serious?

  • Lidman

    Ok, it’s 4 GAMES!!!! In 4 games some of you are already able to discern that Geno Smith won’t be a good NFL QB, and the NYJ made a mistake?

    I’m not a huge Geno backer. I’ve said it, ad nauseum: I root for laundry, so I’m rooting for Geno. Yes, he’s made mistakes. What does that mean, he won’t be good? Don’t compare him to Luck, Wilson and RG3, it’s a mistake. Luck played a soft schedule, in a weakened AFC. He still played great, but if you saw his game against the Jets last year, he looked awful…like Geno v Tennessee awful. Wilson? I think he’ll be good, but he’s so overhyped. He’s a glorified game manager. They win at home (ok, this year they’ve done some nice things on the road) and have a dominating defense and strong running game. He had nice 2H last week, that doesn’t make him great. RG3? If he can’t run, the read option is shot (oh, why isn’t Albert Morris great again..uh, cause you don’t have to worry about the ball coming out of his belly because the QB can’t run this year).

    Geno Smith took his first snap EVER under center this year. He shouldn’t be playing yet. He is because they have no alternative. Sure, maybe Matt Simms is Kurt Warner…I mean it could happen…if you’re Rex Ryan do you pull the new GMs choice and go with a UFA, when 6-7 wins (very attainable) likely keeps your job??

    I brought this up earlier and so did Anthony: Elite Eli..yeah, how’s he look with a terrible OL and no D? All of a sudden he doesn’t have time to get the ball down field as effectively. Flacco: go look at his numbers: In his 1st 3 yrs, they babied him, great/very good D and good running game and he had a Comp % over 60. 2011/12 and early 13, he’s under 58%…he’s got 5 TDs/7 INTs this year. QBs need time look at Bradshaw, Elway, Aikman, Young, Peyton…the Marino’s of the world are OUTLIARS. In fact, if Idzik picked Geno, in round 2, with the NYJ needs, and after 1 season picks a 1st round QB, I’d fire him. That means he’d have wasted a 2nd rounder..he could have taken Robert Woods, Eddie Lacy, LeVeon Bell or Larry Warford who all look like impact players.

    For all of you folks talking Teddy Bridgewater, I ask: really? He’s slight. I don’t see much difference between he and Smith. Tell me what otherworldly qualities he has telling us he’s Andrew Luck?

    I was just driving to grab lunch and Greg Cosell was on the Cowherd show. If you can, listen to the Podcast. Cosell is as respected a film watcher as there is. Listen to what he says about Geno. He’s right where he should be, in fact with 2 late 4Q drives to win games, we should be ecstatic.

    It’s 4 games…last week everyone wanted to annoint him the next thing and so good to move on from Sanchez. I said then (and still believe today): tap the breaks, because there are going to be bad games. If he gets them to 6-9 wins that’s a big winner in my book…QBs take time.

  • Keator

    Great article to read and the comments lol kash wears Sanchez jerseys to sleep in.

    Sanchez ever in his life completed 80% of his passes threw 3 Tds and had 0 TOs? #AskingForAFriendOfKashs