Even with Mark Sanchez sitting on the injured reserve list, the Jets’ quarterback situation still is an open question unless rookie starter Geno Smith gets a grip on the turnover situation. Smith has been responsible for 11 turnovers through four games, including eight interceptions.
The quarterback competition in training camp only was resolved by the shoulder injury to Sanchez, not by their relative performance on the field. Now, the Jets have Matt Simms, a first-year player who never has played an NFL game, situated as the backup to Smith. Seven-year veteran Brady Quinn, who at least has 20 starts in 24 appearances, is the third-stringer.
Simms was impressive during the preseason playing against opponents’ backups, but head coach Rex Ryan was asked on Friday how comfortable he would be going to another rookie in the event Smith follows his four-turnover performance against Tennessee with another poor outing Monday night in Atlanta.
Ryan said he was uncomfortable answering such a hypothetical question and added, “I just know Geno is out there. He’s our quarterback…There is no competition. He’s the quarterback this week.”
As tenuous an endorsement as that sounded, Ryan’s intent was to focus on this week’s game without backing himself into a corner regarding any future decisions at the position. A reporter followed up by asking if Ryan considered “making Brady the No. 2 quarterback due to his experience.”
With a smile, Ryan responded, “Tom or Quinn? Tom would be active. Oh, Brady Quinn.” The coach then reiterated that Simms is the No. 2 QB.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg also weighed in on the backup quarterback situation, saying, “Matt Simms is technically a rookie that earned his spot on this football team. That’s a great thing. You get what you earn, and he earned the thing.
“Brady Quinn, I think highly of Brady. He’s experienced, he’s won games. It’s very difficult to jump a guy at that position right now. He’s doing a fantastic job learning our offense and each gameplan like he’s going to play. I’m glad we have Brady Quinn because of experience.”
Pressed as to why he would prefer Simms to a veteran backup, Mornhinweg was adamant. “That’s been well thought out,” Mornhinweg said. “Matt earned this thing, and Matt has a lot of respect and confidence from his teammates and from the staff.”