Analyzing Matt Simms First NFL Start


Aug 29, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Matt Simms (5) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first half of a preseason game at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Simms made his first career NFL start two nights ago, when the Jets took on the Philadelphia Eagles. Overall, it was a very good outing, 33-44 for 285 yards, despite the fact that it took place against backup players. The NFL is still the NFL, it was a good performance.

So, how to pass the time? How about we take a look at how he did? Let’s breakdown Matt’s performance, taking a look at the good and the bad.


In spite of what some Tweets had to say the other night, I was quite impressed with Simms’ footwork. He always kept his feet moving. He set his feet nicely on pretty much every throw. He stepped nicely on each throw, unless he was being rushed, and even then he stood in there.

No matter what the pass rush did to him, Simms was able to buy himself enough time to get off a strong throw. He some strong “pops”, but came back for more, clearly passing the “flinch” test. He showed he could stand up to an NFL pass rush, and make strong throws.


Matt Simms has unquestionable arm strength. Just look at the tape from the other night. There wasn’t a throw that he couldn’t make. The short passes were strong, and the long ones went the distance with ease. Not only did they get there, the majority of them were accurate. Some he did overthrow, but we are talking about arm strength here. No questions about this part of his game.


He had some mistakes in this area, but for the most part, Matt Simms was dead on. Take a look at this 17 yard completion from early in the game to Michael Campbell. Here I am going to show you the iso on Campbell, from the broadcast.

Here, Michael Campbell is locked up one on one with cornerback. He gets off the line cleanly, and runs a route where he runs down the field, and stops after approximately 15 yards to look over his outside shoulder. Look at where Matt places this ball.

Right on the outside shoulder, where only Campbell can get to it. The defender has no time to react, and the only way he can stop the catch would have been to interfere with Campbell. He didn’t and it was a 17 yard hookup.

Looked accurate to me.

There were many accurate passes on the night, but he had some difficulty because of………….


There were a few passes that Matt dropped right on the money, but there were drops, and/or balls that went through the receiver’s hands. The worst one was the deep ball up the right side to Zach Rogers, approximately 30-35 yards downfield. Simms put it where it would have had Rogers perfectly in stride, but instead, this:

The pass was through his hands and incomplete. Simms couldn’t have thrown it any better. This didn’t help Matt’s cause, as did some other drops. There were a couple of surprising fumbles, one from Spadola and one from Reuland as well. 33-44 is a terrific debut, but it could have been even better.

Aug 29, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Matt Simms (5) before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


I was particularly impressed by the decisiveness with the football. Simms appeared to have a good understanding of his progressions, which is a testament to Marty Mornhinweg as a teacher, but to Simms as well for his ability to pick up the system.

He hardly ever held the football longer than a few seconds, which is the key to a QB’s success in the West Coast system. You must drop 3 steps, and get rid of the football. Or, drop back five steps and get rid of the football. Matt spent the majority of the outing following this principle. Excellent job.


His biggest problem happened on only a couple of throws. It’s a common problem with young quarterbacks, the problem with staring down receivers, telegraphing where he is going to go with the football.

A big example was on the Jets’ first play from scrimmage. Simms opened the game from the gun, looks to his right and does do a quick pump fake. But, after that, take a look at the next three shots in succession:

See Matt Simms’ eyes? They are locked on the left side of the football field for four to five seconds, which is far too long. What was the result?

The pass was nearly picked off. This will get better, but it is something that Simms will need to clean up.

But overall, it was an excellent debut. During his conference call yesterday, Rex hinted that Matt could have played his way into the QB competition. You guys know how I feel about that. Despite the fact that it was against twos and threes, that is the most confident I have felt in a quarterback all off-season.

In my opinion, it was an excellent game to build on. I would hate to see him leave and become a quality starter somewhere else.