Andrew Theodorakis/ New York Daily News
Geno Smith is exiled to the bench after another inept performance through the first two quarters on Sunday.
Geno Smith can’t come close to hitting an open receiver, Matt Simms has great bloodlines but has backup ability, David Garrard hasn’t taken a regular-season snap in three years and if anybody looks at the injured Mark Sanchez as the savior in 2014, well, that’s pretty funny.
This is the worst and most desperate quarterback situation the Jets have faced in all the not-so-glorious years since Joe Namath made them relevant for one Sunday afternoon in 1969.
Rex Ryan finally ran out of patience and benched the completely inept Smith at the half against the Dolphins — the rookie has not thrown a touchdown pass since Oct. 20, which is a long time — and put in Simms, whose father did some great things in his day across the parking lot from MetLife Stadium. But the son’s talent doesn’t quite equal the old man’s. Simms did get the Jets three points, which matched Smith’s production last week in Baltimore.
The worst part is the Jets have no hope at quarterback and will surely be forced to start the cycle over again in the first round of the May draft, when five or six quarterbacks could be No. 1 picks. The 23-3 loss to the dysfunctional Dolphins was the third in a row for the Jets, drops them to 5-7 and pretty much puts an end to any wild-card thoughts. It also increases the pressure on Ryan over the last month of the season to convince Woody Johnson and GM John Idzik to let him stick around next year.
Another dreadful performance by Smith clearly did nothing to improve the rookie’s confidence. Imagine how good he’d feel about himself if he could complete a pass.
“I think I am the best option for this team,” he said.
He might not even be the best option for a team with no options, although just sitting for a couple of weeks might do him some good.
Ryan apologized to the fans for the Jets’ “awful performance.” He and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg broke the news to Smith at the half that his helmet was no longer required.
“We were doing nothing,” Ryan said. “We did absolutely nothing offensively in the first half, so I was just trying to give us a spark some way. I figured that might do it.
“It’s not like it’s just on one man. A game is going like that, you try to find ways to pick the team up.”
Smith said he was given no reason for his benching — none required, really — after his 4-for-10 for 29 yards, an interception and an 8.3 QB rating, which followed his 22.3 rating last week in Baltimore and 10.1 in Buffalo.
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Matt Simms gets a crack at quarterback while Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith watch from the bench.
“Rex owes me no explanation for that,” Smith said. “He’s the coach and I’m the player.”
Ryan said it will take evaluation this week to determine who starts next week against the Raiders, but it doesn’t matter given that Smith has had nearly 12 full games to show he is not the long-term answer. He just doesn’t have the “it” factor or the accuracy in his right arm to ever be a big-time player.
Ryan and rookie GM John Idzik sabotaged the Jets’ quarterback depth chart this season. Idzik’s first choice for a veteran backup was Garrard, who signed in April but didn’t even make it to mini-camp when his knee started barking. Idzik didn’t try to buy some real veteran insurance with Matt Hasselbeck, Jason Campbell or Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Then for reasons that are still not explained, Ryan put Sanchez is for garbage time in the fourth quarter of the third Snoopy Bowl preseason game against the Giants and Sanchez suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. If he had not gotten injured, Sanchez either would have been the Game 1 starter or would have replaced Smith as the starter weeks ago.
I asked Ryan if three months later he regrets putting Sanchez into that game.
“It’s easy when you look back on things,” he said. “Injuries are part of the game. I can certainly understand that. Anytime a player gets hurt, you regret that.”
The Jets signed Garrard again in October but he has not been activated for a game, although Ryan said Sunday he did consider giving him a jersey after the veteran worked out before the game but activated Antonio Cromartie and Santonio Holmes instead.
Sanchez took Ryan on a bumpy ride as a rookie in 2009, but he still showed many more promising signs than Smith even before he got hot in January and helped the Jets get to the AFC title game. Since what was supposed to be Smith’s turning point moment in Atlanta, he has one TD and 11 INTs in the last seven games.
Idzik was standing outside the locker room about 45 minutes after the loss to Miami, first talking with Simms, and then with Mornhinweg, whose offense can’t work without a quarterback. After Idzik was done commiserating with the player and coordinator, he was asked if he had a moment to talk.
“No,” he said.
Maybe he was in a hurry to get back to his office to watch tapes of next year’s quarterback draft class. That’s the only hope for a team with a hopeless quarterback situation.