Jets keeping Geno Smith’s backup quarterback secret

Quarterback Matt Simms
Matt Simms played the entire preseason game against the Eagles and looked pretty good.
Credit: Getty Images

The Jets aren’t saying publicly who their No 2 quarterback is. Privately, things are no different.

Behind Geno Smith, the Jets have Matt Simms, a quarterback who was an undrafted rookie free agent last year and was a cut before training camp. Simms didn’t sign elsewhere in the NFL but was invited again to the Jets’ offseason workouts, this time showing himself to be a more polished quarterback during an impressive preseason. The Jets also signed veteran quarterback Brady Quinn to provide some proven depth behind the rookie Smith before Week 1.

But who is No. 2? No one really knows except for general manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan.

“No [I don’t know who the backup is], not at this point,” Quinn told Metro. “Those are better questions for John or Rex. Every week, we kind of go based on that.”

Quinn wouldn’t hint at who gets the nod directly behind Smith this week. He is staying at the team facility until 8:30 p.m. most nights in an effort to learn the playbook and the weekly game plan.

Simms is equally in the dark about the depth chart and said there is no indication from Ryan as to who is in the lead, or who would take over for Smith if he was injured or yanked from the game.

“I don’t [know]. Both of us have to be ready to go,” Simms told Metro. “As far as that goes, I really don’t know which way he’s leaning. All three of us are working really hard, competing.”

Even practice is no indication of who might be ahead for the top backup spot.

Smith gets the lion share of the snaps on a daily basis in practice, a source told Metro, but after that it can vary from day to day. That breakdown was agreed to by both quarterbacks.

“Every day it’s pretty even,” Smith said. “Obviously Geno is No. 1 and me and [Quinn] are trying to get as many snaps as we can.”

A report earlier this week said Simms is gaining momentum as the starting quarterback given Smith’s three-interception performance at the Patriots last week. Simms showed well in his one start of preseason, leading the offense effectively in a win over the Eagles in the final game of preseason.

“Well, I think there’s a lot of guys that like Simms. I don’t think there’s any doubt,” Ryan said on Thursday. “But to say as our starting quarterback? I don’t see that. But again, I’m obviously not saying that that couldn’t happen, or whatever, but we see Geno as our starting quarterback now and that’s how we see it.”

A team source familiar with the Jets’ thought process told Metro no change is likely.

“While Matt is clearly growing as a quarterback, there is no substantial movement for a change atop the depth chart,” the source said. “Geno is viewed as a possible long-term answer for the franchise at quarterback, while at the same time he’s viewed as a work in progress. That’s not to say that he can’t and won’t be benched if the performance warrants it, but we likely wouldn’t view any change at the top of the depth chart as anything long-term.

“Geno is the future, at least for now.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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