Geno Smith benched at halftime as Jets struggle to find consistency

Geno Smith
Geno Smith was sacked once and threw an interception in his one half of play Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images

It was another game, and another series of miscues, foibles and general ineptitude for Geno Smith.

After being taken by the Jets in the second round of the NFL Draft, Smith was the Jets’ latest answer to their quarterback dilemma. But despite fleeting glimpses of potential, Smith has largely struggled in recent weeks and showed no signs of being a long-term solution under center in Sunday’s 23-3 loss.

Matt Simms was inserted into the game after halftime and led a 64-yard drive on his second series that ended with a Nick Folk field goal to make the score 13-3. But the story wasn’t Simms, who finished the game 9-of-18 for 79 yards and one interception in addition to three sacks. It was the benching of Smith at halftime.

“Just frustrated that we couldn’t come out with the victory,” Smith said. “I don’t have anything to say about anything else other than the fact that we didn’t get it done on offense or as a team. We couldn’t get victory and that’s very frustrating for me as a quarterback. Didn’t do enough, didn’t get it done. Couldn’t complete a ball, just wasn’t good enough to get it done. That’s pretty much it.”

Smith’s struggles have now passed those of his predecessor Mark Sanchez, who has been all but written off by most fans in this his fifth year in New York. Smith hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since Oct. 20, a span of five starts. Smith has one touchdown and 11 interceptions since being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 5 against Atlanta.

Smith has been benched three times this season — all in blowouts and all since the Falcons game. But this week represented the earliest in a game he has been yanked and it happened with the Jets losing just 6-0 at halftime.

If Smith is not the answer going forward, what is left for the team to choose from isn’t entirely enticing. Simms is in his first full season with the Jets after he was cut by the team in training camp in 2012 and he has looked very raw in his three appearances. Third-string quarterback David Garrard has not been active this season and hasn’t thrown a pass since the 2010 season.

“We’re going to evaluate. We’ll take a look at the tape and we’ll evaluate it at the appropriate time. Right now I can’t tell you who is starting,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “We’ll see. Safe to say we’ll put the guys in who give us the best opportunity to be successful. I think that’s the way it always is and that’s the way it will be moving forward. Now, I can’t answer that question. I can’t. We have to see it and get everyone’s opinion and see what is in the best interest of our team.”

Smith was booed after the Jets’ first series when he sailed a third-down pass well over the head of wide receiver David Nelson, who was open for an easy first down. Smith led the Jets to only two first downs in his two quarters of play.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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