It’s clear the New York Jets have become Ryan Fitzpatrick’s team.
After a Week 8 loss to the Oakland Raiders in which Fitzpatrick left with torn ligaments in his left thumb and backup Geno Smith bruised his shoulder, the Jets are sticking with Fitzpatrick in Week 9.
Head coach Todd Bowles declared Fitzpatrick would be the starter on Wednesday, despite a report that Fitzpatrick needs surgery on his left hand.
On Monday, Bowles spoke about Fitzpatrick’s injury and said it would be “a challenge” for Fitzpatrick to take snaps in his current condition. Fitzpatrick might put off surgery until the end of the season, so barring some dramatic change in Fitzpatrick’s status, this is both a sign of Fitzpatrick’s hold on the starting quarterback spot and the lack of confidence in Geno Smith.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that there was a “palpable sense of relief” among the Jets when Fitzpatrick got the job for Week 9:
It’s apparent from listening to players that Fitzpatrick has won their trust and they believe he gives them the best chance of winning. Some people might interpret that as an anti-Geno sentiment; I think it’s more pro-Fitzpatrick. The Jets (4-3) have dropped two in a row and can’t afford a loss on Sunday to the lowly Jaguars. The players know this, and they’re grateful Fitzpatrick will be leading them.
In his stint in Week 8, Smith played well, throwing for 265 yards on 27-42 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. After the game, Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall defended Smith, saying young players should get second chances.
It’s clear, though, that the coaches favour a “compromised” Fitzpatrick over a “relatively healthy” Smith. The lack of confidence in Smith as a starter, even if he is slightly hobbled, was evident when the Jets were reportedly looking at free agent quarterbacks for insurance, with Matt Cassel’s name popping into the mix.
For Smith, this is all part of the fallout from his altercation with IK Enemkpali, in which he had his jaw broken over $US600. This was supposed to be Smith’s breakout year, and instead, the trajectory of his career has taken a sharp turn downward.
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