As JetNation Turns: QB Edition

If you are a fan of the New York Jets, you are well aware that, there is never a dull moment.  Last year the QB situation took center stage with all the Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez talk.  This year is proving to be interesting as well when it comes to the quarterback situation.  The cast of characters may have changed but the drama surrounding the quarterbacks remains.

On this quarterback only episode of As JetNation turns we have:

Greg McElroy: He was hurt in camp (ankle and knee), then the Jets cut him.  The College GameDay broadcast team contacted him with a job offer.  He followed that up with an injury settlement from the Jets and then ended up on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad.

Matt Simms:  The son of NY Giants QB Phil Simms started training camp as the #4 man on the depth chart.  He made the most of every opportunity he received in the preseason and he received good news on roster cut down day.  Nobody came knocking on his door and the former Don Bosco Prep star made the team.

Graham Harrell: Graham we hardly even knew ya.  He was signed on 8/28 and was an insurance policy in the 4th preseason game.  Except Matt Simms played almost the whole game, minus a kneel down.  Harrell was released by the Jets when they brought in Brady Quinn.

Mark Sanchez:  He seemed to have won the battle for the starting position after Geno Smith played poorly against the Giants in the 3rd preseason game.  Then Sanchez entered the game behind backup offensive lineman and injured his shoulder.  The Jets haven’t provided much information but it seems like they are concerned about the injury.  Mark told the media today, “I’m feeling better each day. (I) just keep rehabbing and hopefully I’ll be back soon.” The Jets will give an injury update on Wednesday and are expected to name the starting QB against the Bucs at that time.  With each passing day it is looking more and more unlikely that Mark Sanchez will be able to start week one.

Brady Quinn: The newest addition to the set, he signed today.  How long will he be a member of the cast?  That remains to be seen.  Right now it looks like he will play the role of veteran backup.

Geno Smith:  The success of the show will be on his shoulders.  He is expected to be named the week one starter since Mark Sanchez is injured.  The Jets will want to avoid playing musical quarterbacks so Geno will be given every opportunity to keep the job.

Stay tuned JetNation, the show is about to start.


NY Jets Release Greg McElroy and Mike Edwards

The Jets have started their cuts today and Quarterback Greg McElroy is one of the first ones to be released. McElroy suffered a mild knee injury right before the 4th preseason game vs the Philadelphia Eagles, which allowed the opportunity for Matt Simms to come in and seize the 3rd string Quarterback position. Matt Simms good play vs the Eagles made the decision easier for the team to move on from McElroy.

Additionally the NY Jets have released Corner Back Mike Edwards.

Edwards who is a graduate from Hawaii and went undrafted, was battling for a position which was already considered to be a strength for the Jets. The Jets still need to make more cuts to meet requirement of having a 53 man roster by 6pm eastern time today. Stay tuned for more breaking news.

Matt Simms For Three

Matt Simms has an opportunity tonight to lock down the #3 QB job for the New York Jets.  The son of former Giants great Phil Simms will start the preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.  Mark Sanchez is out with an injured shoulder, Geno Smith isn’t expected to play and Greg McElroy is hurt as well.

Simms, who played for Don Bosco Prep in NJ, has looked good this preseason.  He has a strong arm and against the Jaguars he was 5 of 5 and looked like he was set to claim the 3rd QB job.   Recently signed Graham Harrell is expected to back up Simms against the Eagles.

The Jets will have to make a decision shortly after the game.  NFL rosters must be trimmed to 53 players by August 31st at 6pm.  Based on his performance tonight, Matt Simms can stake a claim to one of those spots.

New York Jets fans are discussing Matt Simms in our forum.

Matt Simms




Jets Sign A QB

The New York Jets have signed QB Graham Harrell according to Fox Sports.

Harrell, 28, had spent the past three seasons with the Packers and served as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in 2012. Harrell was released Sunday after Vince Young emerged as the front-runner to serve as Green Bay’s new second-stringer.

Why would the Jets bring in another QB so close to the beginning of the season? There are two theories right now:

1. Insurance in case the injury to Mark Sanchez sidelines him for an extended period of time
2. Greg McElroy’s injury is worse than reported and they need someone to split time with Matt Simms vs the Eagles on Thursday

If Harrell was brought in to play on Thursday he might not be in town for long. Final roster cuts are due on August 31st.

Having spent his entire NFL career in Green Bay’s West Coast-style offense, Harrell could be a nice fit in a scheme with similar concepts run by Jets coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. A standout college quarterback at Texas Tech, Harrell saw limited action in his time with Green Bay. All four of his career passing attempts came in backup duty last season in four games spelling Rodgers.

Jets fans are discussing this move in our New York Jets forum.

The Jets Phony Quarterback Competition

All offseason Jets fans have focused much of their attention on the teams quarterback competition.  The use of the word competition implies that all the participants actually have a chance to win it.

With rookie Geno Smith getting an opportunity to start against the Giants last Saturday his performance would be a good barometer which to measure where he was in regards to veteran Mark Sanchez.  Smith’s uneven performance filled with mistakes made it appear that the much maligned Sanchez would hold on to his starting job heading into week one.

Not so fast as Sanchez was inexplicable placed into the last preseason game late behind the back-up offensive line only to get injured after taking a big hit from defensive lineman Marvin Austin, a guy fighting for a Giants roster spot.  The decision to play Sanchez at all let alone with inexperienced blockers against defensive players going all out to make a team left many wondering, why was he in the game?

Since the hiring of general manager John Idzik Sanchez has become odd-man-out of the team’s plans at the quarterback position. The signing of veteran David Garrard, who was forced to retire due to a knee issue, and the drafting of rookie Geno Smith sent out a strong message the organization wanted to move on from Sanchez.  Also the large financial obligation owed to Sanchez heading into next season made finding his replacement a priority.

This so called competition was never actually one since Sanchez had no chance of winning.  Even if he somehow managed to start week one the inevitable would have occurred, Sanchez would be pulled for Smith.  The organization is looking towards the future and needs to know if Smith is a franchise quarterback this season. 

While Sanchez made the case to start the season, he did not make the case he’s the quarterback moving forward, and the Jets want any reason not to play him. That is why the person who appears to be your week one starting quarterback was placed in a meaningless game late because Sanchez is regarded on the same level as Greg McElroy or Matt Simms.

The bottom line is there was never a quarterback competition, regardless of what was being said, this was simply a “facade” put up to get us to believe Sanchez actually had a chance to “win” when in reality he’s already lost. 

The Jets were still looking for any reason to justify having Geno Smith their week one starter and that is why Sanchez played.  The Jets may have gotten what they wished for as Sanchez’s availability for opening day is now unknown but why put forward this phony competition when the outcome was already predetermined?

Geno Smith Injures Ankle

Geno Smith injured his ankle during the 3rd quarter of the Jets preseason game against the Detroit Lions.  The injury occurred as Geno scrambled for a short gain.  He walked off the field with a limp and the trainers taped his right ankle on the sideline.  Greg McElroy took over at QB and later in the 3rd quarter Geno Smith went into the locker room.  He walked off the field on his own and we will have more updates on this injury as information is released.

Geno Smith was 6/7 passing for 47 yards on the game, with a 94.6 QB Rating.

You can read more about the Jets and Geno Smith in our NY Jets message board.

Update 11:32pm:

Here is some encouraging news from Brian Costello:

Jets Camp Notes – 07/26

The Jets first practice is officially over and it seems like the crowd in attendance was pretty small.  It should mean there are fewer distractions for the Jets this year as the circus has left the tent, hopefully.  Here are some notes from the first practice which was held late this morning.

Chris Ivory did not practice and was seen on the sidelines running a stationery bike.  When asked what the injury was he told reporters that he tweaked his hamstring and it sounds like he will sit out for a few days.

As we mentioned this morning Dee Milliner was a no show, so the Jets officially have a hold out.  The same goes for Mike Goodson who has legal problems to deal with, although he agent says that is not the reason why Goodson isn’t in camp.

Santonio Holmes is in Cortland but told the media he couldn’t answer the question if there is a chance that he won’t play this season.  The return of Braylon Edwards is looking even more promising due to the uncertainty around Santonio’s return.

Quarterback Stats and Notes

Greg McElroy is the 3rd strong QB according to Brian Costello.

Several reports also stated that Clyde Gates had a good first practice.  Rex told the media that Gates was the MVP of the offense today.

We will have additional updates today and throughout training camp.  Also, be sure to check out our New York Jets training camp photo gallery which is being updated regularly.

Eric Allen On Offense

Eric Allen from NY took some fan questions today, here is what Eric thinks about the Jets offense as they prepare to head into training camp on July 25th.

Q: Does Brian Winters have a shot at starting the season at left guard?
EA: Winters definitely has a shot at starting, but I think his percentages might be better actually at right guard.  The Jets feel great about former Steeler Willie Colon. If Colon’s body can hold up for 16 games (he finished the past three seasons on injured reserve), the Jets will have a major steal.

Q: Oh my!  Do the Jets have enough cap space to bid on QB Matt Ryan should his contract talks fall through and he hits FA?
EA: Not happening.  (JN note: If you think this is going to happen you must be feeling lucky so you should play slots online for real money).

Q: Are the Jets receivers going to be ready for a full season of Jets football? In order for us to have any chance to compete for the Lombardi Trophy, we have to have them step up to the next level of play and stay there all season long.
EA: In a word, the Jets receivers had an underwhelming minicamp. Rex Ryan was none too happy with the drops and he had every right to be agitated.

Q: How come we don’t hear much about Greg McElroy in the QB competition? Has he been weeded out already?
EA: The competition mantra isn’t going away, but you just have to follow the reps.  Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez are the only two players receiving the reps with the starting unit.

Day One: Minicamp Report – Sanchez Struggles

Today was the first day of the New York Jets mandatory minicamp and as usual the quarterback competition took center stage.  It appeared from the opening throws that Geno Smith was heading for a better practice then Mark Sanchez.

Smith’s passes were crisp, had more zip and he looked more comfortable within his progressions.  Sanchez was inconsistent throwing into coverage, often staring at receivers and throwing more than one pass to far off-track to know who it was intended for.

While this is only one practice it will be interesting to see how Sanchez responds tomorrow as he was clearly outplayed by Smith who often ran with the second string. 

The other QB battle has Matt Simms ahead of Greg McElroy working with the third string leaving McElroy with the fourth.  Neither back-up did anything worth noting but wonder if McElroy has fallen out of favor given he’s behind Simms?

Recently invited tryout tight end Kellen Winslow was impressive during the practice.  He ran well looked fast and didn’t seem to be hampered by a lingering knee issue he’s had since a 2005 motorcycle accident.  Winslow caught the ball, in stride, ran after the catch and had some nice route running gaining separation.  He even carried once on an end around. 

Wide receiver Stephen Hill while participating looked as if he was favoring an injured knee while dropping a very makeable catch.  Jeremy Kerley was the most consistent WR on the day, catching lots of balls, being open down the field but missed a long reception after being interfered with.  Ben Obomanu looked like a guy who has been in the league seven years a smooth route runner while catching passes during practice.  Tryout WR Mike Sims-Walker had some good plays but didn’t look up to speed on a nicely thrown deep pass by Smith just off the finger tips. 

The receiver group as a whole was a bit disappointing as many well thrown or even catchable balls were allowed to hit the ground (mostly Smith’s passes).  It is easy to understand why the Jets have brought in some veterans to try and strengthen this position.

The running backs group is faster and more explosive than last season as Chris Ivory showed off “the wheels” on some runs along with Mike Goodson. 

RB Joe McKnight worked on fielding punt returns along with Kerley.  It is hard to imagine, as has been suggested, that McKnight does not retain a roster spot given his versatility.

The defense as a whole has more quickness and athleticism. The fluid moment along with the pursuit speed of linebacker Demario Davis really stood out.  Quinton Coples lined up at both defensive end and outside linebacker.  Rookie Sheldon Richardson was moved around some but the LDE – Richardson, NT – Kenrick Ellis and RDE – Muhammad Wilkerson with Antwan Barnes and Coples standing up on the outside appeared to be the pass-rush alignment. 

The cornerbacks played well as Antonio Cromartie blanketed receivers. Dee Milliner was limited while still recovering from injury but did say, he’d be ready for training camp, when asked after practice.  Darrin Walls had a few stand out plays with some fast break-ups of pass attempts. 

Safeties Dawan Landry and Josh Bush ran with the first team while Jaiquawn Jarrett and Antonio Allen were with the twos but Allen was worked in with the first team.  Bush did allow a receiver deep much to the dismay of the coaching staff.

Make sure to follow @Jetnation on twitter tomorrow (11:30am) for more live updates from day two of minicamp and another camp-report after practice concludes.