Before tonight's game, Phil Simms gave his son Matt some of the "same old dad speech" that he typically gives: "Play smart."
QB Matt Simms conceded that he didn't make a very smart decision on the first play of the game, when Eagles LB Chris McCoy nearly picked him off, "but after that I played relatively smart."
The first-year QB certainly helped his chances of earning a spot on the 53-man roster in tonight's 27-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He completed 33 of 44 passes for 285 yards, falling just 1 yard short of Ray Lucas' 286 yards against the Giants in 2000, the most by a Jets passer in the preseason since at least 1975. Simms didn't have any passing touchdowns, but he didn't throw any interceptions, either.
Getting to work with coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach David Lee has proven to be very helpful for the young quarterback.
"The best thing that Marty's done for me is he's put me in a good position to be successful and show off my talent," he said, "and also he's allowed me to play with a tremendous amount of confidence that I haven't had since high school."
His confidence is evident in his 103.6 passer rating and 74.6% accuracy for the summer. But after all, it is only preseason.
"Let me know if I have the highest completion percentage and all that stuff in December when everything counts," he said. "It's nice. Hopefully that's helped my cause to stay here and be a Jet. But at the same time, it is preseason, and we need to keep things realistic."
While the statistics are impressive and we did get the W, there were a few hiccups for the offense along the way, most notably on the first and final drives of the opening half.
After his throw to start the game, he was sacked by LB Brandon Graham in the end zone for a safety just two plays later.
Then with 14 seconds left in the first half and the ball on the 11, LB Everette Brown chased Matt down and stripped the ball loose. TE Konrad Reuland recovered the fumble, but there was not enough time left to spike the ball and stop the clock. For the second time in three games, a late-first-half red zone possession led to zero points before 0:00 appeared on the game clock.
"I just held on to the ball for too long," Simms said. "That's why they were able to strip it from me, and that's just something that I need to learn from and make sure I don't repeat that again."
Simms said Mornhinweg told him, " 'That's really bad and you just need to do better, you need to know better.' And he's right."
Third-year QB Greg McElroy and Simms have been competing for the third-string quarterback spot since the start of training camp. McElroy could only watch from the sidelines in tonight's preseason finale, as he sat out with an ankle injury for the second consecutive game. Simms, asked by Jets play-by-play announcer Bob Wischusen if he felt he's won a spot on this team, replied "I don't know. I just know that I went out there and played as hard as I could and laid it all on the line. And we'll see where that takes it."