The Jets made their recent dissatisfaction with Ryan Fitzpatrick known this week after benching him for Geno Smith, whom the organization did not view as a sufficient option going into the season. But the team’s frustration with Fitzpatrick can be traced back as far as the spring, when the lengthy impasse that forced him to miss all of the team’s pre-training camp began, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports.
Fitzpatrick received the salary bump he sought coming off the career year, signing a one-season deal worth $12MM, but obviously hasn’t replicated his 2015 performance thus far. Although, he did lead a Gang Green comeback effort today in relief of an injured Smith despite entering Week 7 with a 5-to-11 touchdown pass-to-interception ratio and having completed just 57 percent of his throws. Fitzpatrick threw for 120 yards and a touchdown pass off the bench.
Todd Bowles, per La Canfora, backtracked on his pro-Fitz comments after the Cardinals loss upon seeing game film. The NFL’s turnover leader struggled with specified keys and reads in the Jets’ Monday-night defeat. Bowles’ reconsideration to give Smith another chance was widely approved throughout the organization, La Canfora reports.
The issue here, obviously, is the Jets don’t have a surefire long-term solution right now. Smith’s contract is up after 2016 as well, and the team plans to essentially redshirt Bryce Petty (again) and second-rounder Christian Hackenberg this season, with Petty being the option if Smith fares poorly. There is some hope within the organization Smith can revive his career, however. Fitzpatrick, though, isn’t willing to concede this job despite what he’s viewing as a lack of belief from the Jets.
“I think I should start every week,” Fitzpatrick said postgame, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter links). “When the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself.”
Bowles has not announced his Week 8 starter, with Smith’s knee injury leaving that uncertain for now. Smith completed 4-of-8 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens.
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