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Monday, December 2, 2013
Analysis: QB decision a mixed message

By Rich Cimini


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A few takeaways on the New York Jets' decision to stick with Geno Smith as the starting quarterback:

1. What it means: This decision shows the organization hasn't wavered in its season-long objective, which is to find out if Smith can be the long-term answer at quarterback. Presumably, the thinking is: If he can recover from this, he can recover from anything.

2. Lesser of three evils: Let's face it, this quarterback decision was like a riddle: A multiple-choice question with no clear-cut answers. The Jets can't possibly have confidence in Smith, who is mired in a funk for the ages. This shows what they think of Matt Simms and David Garrard. From my understanding, it was a Smith-Simms decision. Garrard never was strongly considered.

3. Mixed message: Ryan benches rookie cornerback Dee Milliner whenever he makes a big mistake, yet he sticks with someone (Smith) who clearly hasn't performed well enough at his position to maintain a starting position. What kind of message does that convey to the locker room?

4. Who made the call?: Ryan, of course, will paint it as a group decision, but you have to wonder if general manager John Idzik was the driving force. Idzik's rear end isn't on the hot seat, so he can afford to take a long-term view of the situation. Ryan needs to win now.

5. What they should've done: Smith needed time to step back and watch for a week or two. Even though he described Sunday's halftime benching as a wake-up call, it's hard to imagine him learning and improving by sitting for two lousy quarters. They should've gone with Simms for a week or two. It wouldn't have been ideal, but it would've helped Smith in the long run.