Matt Simms can rest easy. Based on Rex Ryan's comments Friday, it sounds like the first-year quarterback has a place on the 53-man roster.
"This young man has really improved now ... oh my goodness," Ryan said. "He always had that big arm. Clearly, he has the arm talent to play in the league. Quite honestly, I don't think I've ever seen anybody make the improvements he’s made. ... He's been absolutely outstanding in the preseason games."
Simms has made huge strides since last year, a credit to him and new quarterbacks coach David Lee. The son of Phil Simms has harnessed his arm strength, improving his accuracy. His final preseason numbers jump off the page -- 44-for-59 (74.6 percent), 478 yards, one touchdown and a 103.6 passer rating. The most important stat -- no turnovers.
In Thursday night's preseason finale, he was the best quarterback on the field, outplaying Eagles backups Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley. Simms competed 33 of 44 passes for 285 yards. He wasn't flawless (there was a safety, two fumbles and two near-interceptions), but he probably did enough to win a backup job.
The Jets have five quarterbacks on the roster -- Simms, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Greg McElroy and Graham Harrell. Ryan didn't discount the possibility of keeping four. Ryan was asked if Simms played his way into the quarterback competition with Sanchez and Smith. Ryan didn't dismiss it, but Simms isn't a realistic option because he's never played with or against first-stringers at this level.
"I certainly see where you could make a case for it," Ryan said of Simms, trying to keep it positive. "He did have a tremendous preseason. He looked absolutely tremendous. He really elevated his stock, I would think."
But not enough to be considered for the starting job.
SIMMS, DUCASSE FINED: It hasn't been a perfect preseason for Simms. He was fined $7,875 by the league for unsportsmanlike conduct in last Saturday's game against the Giants. He gave a gun simulation during a celebration and that's a no-no. LG Vladimir Ducasse was fined the same amount for a leg whip.
ROSTER CUTDOWN: The Jets have to cut 22 players by 6 p.m. Saturday. The most interesting decision is the kicking battle between Nick Folk and challenger Dan Carpenter. Other notable vets on the bubble are offensive tackle Jason Smith, receiver Mohamed Massaquoi and receiver Ben Obomanu. Draft picks on the bubble are offensive tackle Oday Aboushi (fifth round) and guard Will Campbell (sixth).
POSITIONAL BATTLES: Safety (Antonio Allen vs. Jaiquawn Jarrett) and left guard (Brian Winters vs. Vladimir Ducasse) remain open. Ryan reiterated that he could have a safety platoon, basing the weekly starter on the opponent. The Jets haven't been very good at settling competitions this summer, have they?
REX PULLS A BELICHICK: Ryan, who used to mock Bill Belichick's secretive approach to injuries, has turned into a chip off the old Bill. In a conference call with reporters, he mentioned at least a half-dozen times that reporters would have to consult next Wednesday's injury report (the first day reports are required) to get their updates. What happened to bonus coverage?