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Friday, August 30, 2013
Jets QB Matt Simms spectacular vs. Eagles

By Ian Begley

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- At least the Jets have one quarterback who can play.

Third-stringer Matt Simms led Gang Green to four scoring drives and finished 33-of-44 for 285 yards in the Jets' 27-20 victory over the Eagles on Thursday. The numbers, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt because they came in the Jets' final preseason game -- a time when most starters rest.

Matt Simms
Matt Simms, son of Giants legend Phil, went 33-of-44 for 285 yards in the Jets' victory Thursday.
But Simms' night was arguably the best performance by a Jet quarterback this preseason.

"It was really great to see him get the opportunity and take advantage of it," coach Rex Ryan said.

The team still hasn't decided which quarterback will start in Week 1 -- Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith.

Sanchez is out with a shoulder injury and Smith struggled in extended action, throwing three interceptions in the first half last week against the Giants.

In addition to deciding on a starter, the Jets' brain trust may now have to decide whether to keep Simms around as the third quarterback over Greg McElroy, who was out with a knee injury.

"Matt jumped in and made the most of his opportunity," said Ryan, who added that the team would not rule out carrying four QBs.

Simms, the son of former Giants great Phil Simms, certainly made a strong case to be kept on the roster. (Final cuts are due by Saturday at 6 p.m. ET).

He was efficient for much of the night. At one point, the former Tennessee signal-caller hit on 25 of 27 passes, numbers look even better when you consider that Simms was sacked seven times.

Thursday's game didn't start well for Simms. His first pass went right into the hands of Eagles line backer Chris McCoy. McCoy dropped an easy pick.

The 24-year-old was then called for intentional grounding in the end zone after offensive tackle Jason Smith was beaten by Brandon Graham.

From there, though, Sims was nearly flawless. He led the Jets to scores on two of his next four drives and showed an accuracy that some experts said he'd been lacking to this point. He finished the preseason 44-for-59 with 478 yards, one touchdowns and no interceptions.

"You saw the improvement," Ryan said. "... Man, it's good to see. Obviously, he's a smart kid, has a great pedigree and (is) a local product."

Simms' numbers at one point looked eerily similar to the stats his dad put up in a legendary Super Bowl XXI against the Broncos (22-for-25, 3 TDs).

Simms said his dad gave him a small pep talk before Thursday's game.

"It was the same old Dad speech," Simms said. "Play smart, play hard and represent well."

Simms did just that. And he may have earned a roster spot in the process.