2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Struggling Smith remains Jets' starting QB

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-02 16:38

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Geno Smith is staying put as the New York Jets' starting quarterback.

His hold on the job, however, is tenuous at best.

Rex Ryan confirmed Monday that he's sticking with the rookie despite Smith's struggles in the last several games.

''I believe in Geno,'' Ryan said. ''I think he has the tools to be a good QB in this league.''

Smith wasn't surprised when he was told Monday morning by quarterbacks coach David Lee that he would start the home game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

''Every day I come into this building, I fully expect to play,'' Smith said. ''I prepare that way. When I got the news, it wasn't a major reaction.''

Smith was benched in favor of Matt Simms at halftime of the Jets' 23-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins following another brutal performance. The rookie was 4 for 10 for 29 yards with an interception and an 8.3 quarterback rating in two quarters.

''If it was a tactic to wake me up or get me going,'' Smith said, ''it definitely worked.''

He has one touchdown pass - against New England on Oct. 20 - and 11 interceptions in his last seven games. The Jets (5-7) have lost three straight to go from controlling their playoff destiny a few weeks ago to barely hanging on in the postseason mix.

Despite the struggles, Smith will get the start against Oakland over Simms and veteran David Garrard, who hasn't played a regular-season game since 2010.

''His perseverance is impressive to me,'' Ryan said about Smith. ''He'll bounce back from this, and I'm just waiting for him to have a great game.''

Ryan insisted he has lots of confidence in Smith, and doesn't think he needs to sit on the sideline and just watch.

''No. 1, he's our best shot, in my opinion,'' Ryan said.

Simms said he was anxious coming to the facility, not knowing if he would get his first NFL start or remain Smith's backup - at least for the next game.

''Obviously, when you get out there on the field and you get a little taste of the real action, all you want is you want more of it,'' Simms said. ''But nonetheless, Geno's the man and I'm going to support him and prepare like I have been.

''If my number's called again, then I'll go out there and play as hard I can again.''

Smith was booed loudly by the MetLife Stadium crowd at times before being replaced by Simms. The son of former Giants star Phil Simms was cheered as he jogged onto the field to start the third quarter, but didn't fare much better. He was 9 for 18 for 79 yards with an interception, and was sacked three times.

''I did enough to solidify that I'm still the (backup),'' Simms said, smiling. ''So, at least I didn't play myself out of my job, so that's the key. I get to stay around and play football for one more week and considering the strides that I've made this year, that's good enough for right now.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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