Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News
Despite his woeful quarterback rating, being benched on Sunday and having not thrown a touchdown pass since Oct. 20, the Jets are sticking with Geno Smith as their starting quarterback.
Geno Smith is the league leader in interceptions, hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in 21 quarters and is on a three-game losing streak. He is also still the quarterback of the New York Jets.
For the second straight week, Rex Ryan wouldn’t name a starting quarterback immediately after a loss. And for the second straight week, he stuck with Smith. Smith was told early Monday morning by quarterbacks coach David Lee that he would start against the Raiders Sunday.
Matt Simms, the second-string quarterback, was the presumed alternative, though veteran David Garrard was also a possibility.
“We’re going to go with, and I’m going to go with, Geno as our quarterback,” Ryan said. “I believe in Geno.
“I think he’s got a chance. I think he’s got a chance to be a good quarterback.”
Ryan is very much in between a rock, a hard place and a 35-year-old quarterback. Because as much as Smith has struggled, the unproven Simms didn’t play well Sunday, either. The alternative is trusting Garrard, who hasn’t played a regular-season game since 2010.
“If we’re just looking at that tape, the option doesn’t look very good for either guy,” Ryan admitted, referring to Sunday’s 23-3 loss to the Dolphins.
Ryan ultimately decided to stick with the status quo, just like he did this same week last season after replacing Mark Sanchez with Greg McElroy mid-game, as the Jets look to win out or at least stave off a collapse.
Smith said he wasn’t nervous that the team would go in a different direction and reiterated that he still feels he’s the best man for the job.
“It’s hard for people to believe that with the tough stretch that we’ve had,” Smith said. “But, that’s just the confidence that I have in myself. I know for a fact that my teammates and coaches have that same confidence in me, so that’s why I believe that.”
Simms admitted that he was “anxious” waiting to find out if he would be the starter, but said he didn’t have an expectation one way or the other.
“Everyone wants to go out there and compete,” Simms said. “Obviously when you get out there on the field and you get a little taste of the real action, all you want is you just want more of it. But nonetheless, Geno’s the man and I’m going to support him and prepare like I have been.”
Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News
Matt Simms says he was anxious waiting to learn if he would start in Week 14.
Simms added that he did discuss his play against the Dolphins with his father, former Giants QB Phil Simms.
“He was pleased that I didn’t make it worse,” Matt Simms said.
Ryan has handled Smith’s struggles very differently from how he has dealt with another rookie, cornerback Dee Milliner, and his adjustment to the NFL. The first-round pick has been benched three times mid-game by Ryan, and did not start in Week 3 following a benching the previous game.
“I’m not worried about sending mixed messages or whatever,” Ryan said. “My thing is I’m fair.”
Ryan has spoken about Milliner benefiting from watching from the sidelines, but said he didn’t think Smith needed to watch a game at this point.
“He took a breather in that half,” Ryan said. “He saw it from the sidelines for that half. I think he’ll be ready to respond this week.”
The coach indicated it was an organization decision, as the team has stressed all season long, and that GM John Idzik and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg were part of the conversation.
Smith insisted that he hasn’t lost any confidence despite his recent track.
“Not one bit,” Smith said.
Can he correct the mistakes?
“I am more than certain,” he said.
Smith said he doesn’t feel any pressure to prove he is the quarterback of the future, because he’s had that assignment the whole season.
“I think I’ve been trying to prove that my entire time here. Regardless of it’s year 1 or year 5 or 10 years from now… no one’s job is for certain,” Smith said. “You’ve got to go out and produce on the field.”