FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Rex Ryan is doing the right thing in sticking with Geno Smith for Sunday's game against the Ravens, even after yet another road game meltdown that dropped the Jets to 5-5.
But make no mistake: This should not be an open-ended commitment from the Jets coach to his rookie quarterback. And if he continues to commit turnovers at an alarming rate, then Ryan has to at least consider going to backup Matt Simms at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Smith's season has been almost as confounding and inexplicable as the Jets' season overall. He's surprisingly good one week, showing the poise of a veteran and commanding the huddle, but then is shockingly bad the next, locking on to receivers, throwing the ball into coverage and committing turnovers that are ruining his team's chances.
The Jets are a win-one, lose-one team so far, and Smith is a win-one, lose-one quarterback. It has to stop; otherwise, Ryan has to consider a change. Especially if he believes that Simms has made the kind of genuine improvement from last year that it looks like.
Smith already has shown an impressive ability to bounce back from bad games, such as the ones against the Patriots, Titans, Bengals and Steelers. And that's why Ryan is correct in giving him the start this week against the Ravens.
But if the turnovers keep coming in bunches, and if those turnovers are deciding the outcome as has repeatedly been the case, then Ryan needs to be open to a change. Even Smith knows it can't keep going like this without consequences.
"I think every player in the NFL, everyone's job is on the line, every single person," he said. "That's day to day. No one's job is 100 percent secured."
There are growing signs of regression in Smith, whose production has dropped off significantly after a terrific performance in a Monday night win over the Falcons. After throwing three touchdowns and setting up the winning score in that comeback win, Smith has just one touchdown pass and eight interceptions in his last five games.
Ryan correctly pointed out on Monday that Smith was under siege for much of the game from the Bills' relentless pass rush, and that his receivers weren't getting open consistently. But that doesn't excuse Smith locking on to his receivers, and there was little to defend on his three interceptions.