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Greenberg: Post-Miami Quarterback Questions

Posted Dec 2, 2013

As the ball — and the quarterbacks — turn over:

Best Decision, Even If It Didn’t Work: Benching Geno Smith at the half. After then-rookie Eli Manning hit rock bottom in 2004 with a 4-for-18, zero-rating debacle in Baltimore, he bounced back the next week to throw for two touchdowns and a 103 rating, almost beating 15-1 Pittsburgh. After consecutive weeks of ratings of 10.1, 22.3 and 8.3 for Smith, this wasn’t an act of impatience but of mercy. At some point a struggling player has to begin to flash some justification for the confidence a coach is showing in him.

Best Reason for This Best Decision: The team. Though the Jets have never announced this as a rebuilding year, every indication is that first-year GM John Idzik is taking a long-term approach. But even the few Jets who will be here in 2015 weren’t playing for 2015 on Sunday. Players have to feel their coach is giving them a chance to win.

Worst Reason Either to Have Stuck with Smith or to Put Him Back In Next Week Against Oakland: If you pull the young quarterback you're trying to develop, it’s hard to go back to him. Who says?

Best Reason You Don’t Have to Go Back to Smith Next Week: David Garrard. He has not taken a snap for 2½ years — yikes! But if he is healthy enough to play, what other reason is there for him to be in Florham Park?

Next Best Reason You Don’t Have to Go Back to Smith Next Week: His confidence is shot. He needs time to watch and clear his head.

Even Better Reason You Don’t Have to Go Back to Smith Next Week: The Jets likely are going to be drafting another quarterback in April with a top-10, possibly even top-five, pick, who should have to earn his way onto the field in his rookie year, not gain a No. 1 spot by default, as did Smith. If Rex Ryan and Marty Mornhinweg waited through this many bad weeks by Smith to give Matt Simms a shot, obviously they don’t feel he is providing much competition.

Biggest Waste of Time: Wondering what might have been had Rex Ryan not exposed Mark Sanchez to harm in the exhibition game against the Giants. Did you watch Sanchez commit multitudes of the same mistakes in his fourth year that Smith is making in his first? When you're 5-7, you look ahead, not backward. That's a lot of useful cap room the Jets can gain by cutting Sanchez before next season.

Best Jet Sunday: Chris Ivory earned every one of his 61 yards, including the 32-yarder he broke by reversing out of the pack.

Scariest Thought: The Jets had three picks in the top 39 in April and two of them — Smith and Dee Milliner — were benched Sunday, Milliner for the third time.

Biggest Mystery: Kellen Winslow has six receptions in three games since his return from a PED suspension. He had 17, including two touchdowns, in five previous games. On Sunday he produced the only first down of the first half until its final minute.

Best Special Teams Play: Darrin Walls nailed Marcus Thigpen immediately after he caught a Ryan Quigley punt from the end zone, salvaging field position with 1:35 left in the half.

Worst Special Teams Play: On a previous Quigley punt, Thigpen split the middle for 25 yards and the Jets were penalized for an illegal formation besides.

Best Reason to Still Take Heart: Dolphins twice went for it on fourth-and-1 in the first half, and didn’t run either time. That's what they — and the NFL — think of the Jets’ young rushing defense. The secondary is not yet up to snuff, but defenses are built from front to back.

Worst Play: Pro Bowler Mike Wallace ran through Milliner’s grasp for the final touchdown and the rookie corner got a talking-to from Rex Ryan and no more snaps thereafter. But the game already was over. Down, 6-0, the Jets had picked up two first downs on Simms’ second series when Bilal Powell apparently believed he was carrying out a fake instead of a handoff. Ball went to the ground, Miami recovered and when Antonio Cromartie and Demario Davis got beat and Ed Reed provided no late help, Brian Hartline ran in a 31-yard TD pass from Ryan Tannehill to make it 13-0.

Most Damning Stat: The Jets gave up four sacks in just 28 passing attempts and had four rushing first downs against the NFL's 26th-ranked team against the run. The Jets' season is sealed in the box their opponents pack due to lack of respect for the passing game.

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