Todd Bowles made a desperate move for a desperate team at a desperate moment by turning to an ill-equipped 26-year-old child for help.
The Jets’ decision to hand the reigns over to Geno Smith for this week’s game against the Ravens is the ultimate Hail Mary — and one that will inevitably fail. Smith will reportedly replace the struggling Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose end-zone interception late in the third quarter of an embarrassing Monday night loss to the Cardinals sealed his fate.
The move reeks of despair. Smith is hardly qualified to lead a Pop Warner team, let alone a group of professionals.
Smith’s on-field ineptitude is only rivaled by his off-field transgressions that include, but are not limited to, missing a team meeting due to an inability to grasp time zone changes, a middle-finger salute to Woody Johnson’s paying customers after a loss, a verbal altercation with an airline employee, an exposed image of his private parts that made the rounds on the electronic superhighway, and a locker room fight with a teammate that broke his jaw and cost him his starting job last summer.
Smith’s passive-aggressive social media posts during the Jets early-season struggles exposed his inner petulance. He never threw his public support behind the struggling Fitzpatrick, choosing to express subtle whining on Twitter.
On Monday night, Smith showed up Fitzpatrick by throwing a mini-tantrum on the sideline after Fitzpatrick’s interception. He behaved like an infant unable to get his way. After claiming behind closed doors to team officials that he wanted to remain in the background and not become a distraction, he told an ESPN reporter on the field before the Monday night game that he was getting “antsy.”
There’s a laundry list of issues that come with Geno Smith.
(Norm Hall/Getty Images)
“I don’t have any thoughts on backup players saying anything,” Bowles said of Smith’s comment. “They’re backups for a reason. If they get a chance to play, they better prove themselves to be worthy of playing regardless of who that person is.”
Smith, who promptly fumbled and threw an interception in his only drive on Monday, simply has no self-awareness. His litany of poor choices on and off the field during his four-year career inspires nobody. For Pete’s sakes, his teammates, including the most respected veterans, openly campaigned for Fitzpatrick during a six-month long contract impasse with the veteran. This regime has never viewed Smith as anything more than a solid backup. If it did, it would have told Fitzpatrick to take a hike in the offseason.
Smith will ultimately be replaced by Bryce Petty, whose coming back from a preseason shoulder injury, at some point this season.
Smith, who’s in the final year of his contract, has no future with the organization. He knows that. He even enlisted a team official to help reform his public image so that he could be more desirable in the open market after the season.
Darrelle Revis told friends last summer that Smith was not the right man to lead the team. “I own him,” Revis said at the time after it became obvious to the veteran cornerback that Smith simply wasn’t good enough in practice.
Bowles threw his full support behind Fitzpatrick on Monday before curiously backtracking.
“Fitz will be back next week,” Bowles said after the Monday night loss. “It definitely wasn’t Fitz’s fault. I mean, he barely had time to throw. So, anybody we’d have put back there would have had a problem.”
Less than 24 hours later, Bowles changed his tune.
“First of all, after the game, it’s always going to be status quo because I’m never going to tell the media anything before I meet with my coaches and my GM and the rest of the staff, so everything is status quo until we have our meeting (Tuesday night),” Bowles said on a conference call on Tuesday.
Bowles’ waffling was a bad look for the second-year head coach. What prompted his about-face? Fitzpatrick’s numbers didn’t change. Did Bowles feel pressure from owner Woody Johnson, who expressed his long-term confidence in his head coach and general manager on Wednesday from the league meetings in Houston.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s bet on himself has blown up as the quarterback has been one of the NFL’s worst.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
In some ways, perhaps Fitzpatrick gave Bowles no choice. The veteran signal caller ranks last in the NFL in completion percentage and passer rating. He has three more interceptions (11) than anyone else in the league. There’s no denying that he hasn’t played well, but the Jets’ alternative is worse.
Smith has 43 career turnovers and 27 touchdown passes. He is 11-18 as a starter with a 57.9 career completion percentage and 71.9 passer rating.
He has no leadership qualities and galvanizes precisely nobody.
Bowles evidently is willing to try anything, even turning to somebody that he really doesn’t believe in.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News