The New York Jets have Geno Smith under center for Week 1, but head coach Rex Ryan made the wrong decision by choosing the rookie. That doesn't mean that the right choice was Mark Sanchez, though. Matt Simms should have been the starting quarterback in Week 1, as he gives the team the best chance to win in 2013.
Before directly comparing him to both Smith and Sanchez, it's worth taking a look at his preseason numbers. Simms was fantastic, completing 44 of 59 passes for 478 yards and a touchdown. His 478 passing yards ranked third in the NFL behind Case Keenum (482) and Pat Devlin (504). He finished with a quarterback rating (QBR) of 103.6, good enough for 18th in the NFL.
Simms had great chemistry with the team's wide receivers and was very efficient in his passing. He didn't record a ton of touchdown passes, but the Jets as a whole didn't really get into the end zone all that frequently.
Sure, it was just the preseason, but Simms' ability to lead the offense shows just how well-equipped he is to start.
Smith and Sanchez, on the other hand, proved that they aren't the right guys to play under center for the Jets. Smith was 22-for-37 for 246 yards with one touchdown, three interceptions and a QBR of 54.6.
The rookie got the start for Week 1, but he certainly wasn't deserving when looking at his preseason stat line. He offers a more dynamic element to the team, as his ability to run can keep plays alive. That being said, there comes a point where passing efficiency needs to account for something.
Sanchez, the team's starting quarterback since 2009, had a slightly better preseason than Smith, though his inability to protect the football (and his apparent shoulder injury) were detrimental to his chances of starting out of the gate.
Two interceptions in 42 attempts isn't exactly great, nor was his ability to rack up yards down the field. He completed just seven passes for 20-plus yards, and no passes of 40-plus yards. Even before his injury happened, Sanchez wasn't enough of a playmaker to earn the job. As somebody who really isn't even a game manager, Sanchez just doesn't fit with the Jets.
This makes Simms the best option for Ryan and the franchise—at least in 2013. A pretty famous Jets quarterback named Joe Namath (you remember him, don't you?) also thinks Simms should start, via Sid Saraf of FOXSports.com.
Namath doesn't like the inexperience of Smith, as starting a true rookie at quarterback on a team that lacks weapons is a recipe for disaster. Simms has never played a snap in the NFL either, but Smith is viewed as the future of the franchise. Keeping him in a situation to learn and grow as both a passer and professional is paramount for 2013. Allowing him to learn on the fly isn't nearly as an effective method.
Just take a look at how Aaron Rodgers was groomed in Green Bay. Yeah, the Jets don't have a Brett Favre-type for Smith to learn from, but he will be able to learn a lot just from watching the games unfold and analyzing the defenses of the NFL.
Simms played well in the preseason and looked poised in the pocket when opponents rushed the backfield. Smith had his blunders and inconsistencies in the preseason, and, for the future, it's best if the Jets let him sit.
The Jets don't look like a dangerous team in 2013, but they certainly won't win as many games with Smith as they would with Simms. Ryan should make the switch heading into Week 2.