Can Simms be the young backup the Jets have long tried to develop?

Brooks Bollinger, Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff, Erik Ainge, Kevin O’Connell, Greg McElroy … the list of young quarterbacks that the Jets have brought through to try to retain the backup quarterback over the last ten years is long, but those who have stuck with the team for more than two or three years is rather short.

Current backup Matt Simms might not take snaps most Sundays, but his role during the week as the team’s scout team quarterback is helping Simms come along rather quickly. That, along with some mechanics that Jets QB coach David Lee told Simms to work on back in June, wrote JP Pelzman over the weekend for the Bergen Record.

In June, quarterbacks coach David Lee complimented Simms for his “cannon” of a throwing arm, but said he needed to improve his accuracy. Lee has been very impressed with Simms’ progress since then.

“He’s shortened his stride and he’s really increased his touch,” Lee said recently, “and his accuracy has improved phenomenally. … I think the biggest thing is when he went home [after June minicamp], I challenged him with improving his touch [and] improving his accuracy. Of course, he’s got a pro NFL quarterback [his father, Phil] sitting there at his house every day. He just worked his tail off and came back and was hitting what he was aiming at and he hasn’t missed since.

“He’s improved as fast in a short period of time,” Lee added, “[as] anybody I can remember in a long time. So, we’re pleased with Matt right now. … He’s got a lot of charisma. He’s got leadership skills. Guys on the team like him.”

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Simms is still a project, but his upside has held off Greg McElroy, Brady Quinn and David Garrard as the second quarterback. Faint praise, but anyone who watched him carve up the Eagles backups in the preseason had to see the spark. Simms played well in the preseason and some of that touch with his impressive arm might be attributable to Lee’s comments above. As Lee notes, Simms’ big improvement in a short time is good to see, but Simms still has a long way to go. The hope for the Jets is that they have a young and promising backup on their hands, something the Jets seem to have tried to develop often over the last ten years but with which the Jets have had little success.