Friday, August 30, 2013

Simms, Bell make strong cases for Jets' roster


The stage was set for Matt Simms and Kahlil Bell. It was a small stage by normal standards, but a big one for the two New York Jet reserves.

With quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy sidelined to injury and rookie Geno Smith kept away for insurance, the runway was clear for Simms Thursday night in the Jets' preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Simms played the entire game, connecting on 33 of 44 passes for 285 yards and helping his case for the third-string gig -- or maybe making the case for the Jets to carry four quarterbacks.

"It’s been coming on, there’s no doubt," Jets coach Rex Ryan said after the game. "You saw the improvement. He made some great strides through training camp. . . . Obviously, he’s a smart kid, has a great pedigree and is a local product. It was really great to see him get the opportunity and take advantage of it."

Simms, the son of former New York Giants great Phil Simms, did fumble twice, though the Jets recovered both.

Meanwhile, Bell had an opportunity to strengthen his grasp on the No. 3 tailback gig. The Jets cut Joe McKnight earlier this week, and Mike Goodson is serving a suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Bell was the next man up behind Chris Ivory and Kahlil Bell, and he didn't disappoint, rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.

“When you get your number called, you want to try to do the best you can," Bell told the NY Daily News. "I felt like there were a lot of things I could have done better tonight — pass blocking in particular — but we got the win."

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