Life as a No. 4 quarterback can be frustrating in NFL training camps. Most or all of the reps go to the top three passers, leaving mostly scraps for the odd man out.
But Matt Simms, the Jets' undrafted free agent rookie, said he is making the best of things in Cortland even as he watches Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy get all the work in full team drills.
"Right now I’m just trying to learn as much as I can,'' he said. "Eventually I’ll get plenty of opportunities to show my talent out there on the field, but right now I'm just trying to learn the offense, absorb as much information as I can.
"We’ll see how much I can regurgitate later on in camp. It’s still early, so I'm just taking it one day at a time and working hard."
Simms needs less education than most rookies. His father, Phil, was a long-time Giants quarterback and his older brother, Chris, also was a pro. (Chris now is on the Patriots' staff.)
But Simms, who played most recently at Tennessee, still knows his place as a rookie.
"Right now the situation is the first three guys are getting the reps and hopefully down the road when some of the better players get less reps they’ll get some more to me," he said. "But I’m just going to go out there and work hard and stay focused on learning and be prepared."
Being in an NFL camp has only reinforced Simms' belief that he has pro-level ability.
"I definitely feel like I belong, like I have enough talent to be here. I’m just going to learn and be patient. You can’t rush things. I’m just trying to continue playing the game I love. Coach [Matt] Cavanaugh is a great coach. I'm learning a lot.
"There’s definitely a lot more on your plate compared to a college playbook. It’s still early in camp. I’m just excited to be here."
In what area does he need the most improvement? "Really the biggest thing is managing the offense and knowing what to do in certain situations," he said.
(Addendum: When I introduced myself to young Mr. Simms, I told him that in January of 2011 I watched Jets tape before the AFC Championship Game with his father in Matt's bedroom, where Phil's video equipment was set up. After our interview was over I wished Matt good luck. He walked away and said, "Thanks, and stay out of my bedroom!")