The Jets entered their preseason finale without naming a starting quarterback and major confusion surrounding the team’s never-ending competition between two signal-callers that don’t deserve the job.
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Fourth-string QB Matt Simms got the nod to start against the Eagles. Head coach Rex Ryan made a headstrong decision not to use rookie Geno Smith, who will likely be called upon to start the opener against the Buccaneers because of Mark Sanchez’s shoulder injury.
The Jets' roundabout circus show was bound to end when new general manager John Idzik was hired.
Until it didn't.
The Jets' embarrassing mismanagement of their so-called 'QB battle' could eventually spark a divide between players in the locker room, who will independently vie for either Sanchez or Smith to be dubbed the permanent starter.
The Jets could end up carrying more than three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, especially considering Sanchez’s shoulder injury.
Simms’ turn in the lineup started in ugly fashion. The potential practice squad QB took a safety on the Jets’ opening drive against the Eagles.
New York’s revamped defense responded quickly. Potential starting safety Jaiquawn Jarrett pummeled Eagles’ backup QB Nick Foles and forced a fumble to give the Jets premier field position in the early-going.
Simms soon gained some element of comfort in the pocket, connecting on a couple short passing routes. Backup running back Kahlil Bell pounded the ball into the end zone out of the Wildcat to give the Jets a 7-2 lead.
The second-team defense continued to wreak havoc on Foles, as the Jets blitzed four-plus pass rushers nearly every down.
Recently acquired kicker Dan Carpenter sneaked a mid-range field goal through the uprights to give the Jets an eight-point lead on New York’s subsequent possession. The Jets’ coaching brass continues to put pressure on incumbent kicker Nick Folk, despite solid statistics over the past three seasons.
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Ryan Spadola entered Week 4 of the preseason as a virtual lock to make the final roster after a solid showing throughout camp. He committed his first gaffe in a Jets’ uniform though, fumbling the football while trying to plow through defenders on a long third down.
The Jets were in field goal range and could have increased their lead, regardless of the outcome of the play.
Backup tight end Konrad Reuland joined the fumble brigade on the Jets’ next possession, granting a scoring opportunity to a bumbling Eagles’ offense.
Philadelphia put three points on the scoreboard after the fact, but struggled on a massive level against the Jets’ second-team defense.
Simms played the entire first half, completed 20-of-26 pass attempts for 156 yards and demonstrated poise behind bad protection on the offensive front.
He was sacked seven times in the gam'es first 30 minutes.
The coaching brass is going to be hard-pressed to cut Simms, who still has practice squad eligibility. It's wouldn't be completely far fetched for the Jets to carry four quarterbacks on their 53-man roster, even though depth is needed at other positions.
Former Packers’ backup Graham Harrell made his rent-a-player debut with 36 seconds left in the game, kneeling-down to run the clock out. Harrell was essentially brought in to prevent the Jets from playing Smith, the de-facto Week 1 starter.
He ran off the field with a sarcastic smile raging ear-to-ear.
This was Simms’ game from the get-go.
Third-string QB Greg McElroy would be an obvious choice for extended action in the preseason finale if he wasn’t nursing a knee injury.
McElroy could still maintain his role as the Jets’ No. 3 QB despite not seeing any preseason action since the opener in Detroit, and Simms’ seeming brilliance.
The Jets need to shed 22 players from their current roster before Saturday night. Cutting Simms won’t be easy. He undoubtedly deserves a roster spot.
The former Tennessee Vol completed 33-of-44 passes for 285 yards and didn’t commit a turnover in the Jets’ 27-20 win over the Eagles on Thursday night. Simms was also victimized by four drops.
Sanchez and Smith watched unequivocally envious on the sidelines. Simms had achieved what neither of his “superiors” could during the preseason: play turnover free football against second-team defenses and roster hopefuls.