Ryan Fitzpatrick stood at his locker in front of a large group of reporters and cameramen, just as he does every Wednesday. He answered questions as they came, just as he does every Wednesday. But it didn’t take long for Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Jets to be reminded that this Wednesday was different.
Seven minutes and 40 seconds into Fitzpatrick’s interview session, Geno Smith strolled into the locker room. About an hour earlier, Todd Bowles had confirmed that Smith will start Sunday’s game against the Ravens. So the gaggle surrounding Fitzpatrick shrunk considerably as reporters hustled to the other side of the room, waiting to hear comments from the Jets’ new starting quarterback.
This is Fitzpatrick’s new reality.
Ryan Fitzpatrick said he respects his coach’s decision to bench him, but isn’t pleased about it.
“I don’t like it. I’m disappointed,” said Fitzpatrick, who threw a league-leading 11 interceptions during the Jets’ 1-5 start to the season. “I’m disappointed that we’re making the change, but disappointed in my play this year, as well. So the competitor in me really wants to be out there. The guy that was the leader of this team last year and the beginning of this year wants to be out there. But it’s the decision that Todd made. And I’ve got to respect his decision. But I don’t have to like it.”
As the Jets offense struggled to score points and move the ball during a disappointing first six games of the season, Brandon Marshall stood by Fitzpatrick’s side. When the Jets lost to the Seahawks at home, their fourth defeat of the year, Marshall voiced unequivocal support for the quarterback — despite three more fourth-quarter interceptions and another putrid QB rating.
“I am going down. In the boat. With Ryan Fitzpatrick,” Marshall said sternly after the game.
Well, the ship has now sunk. Marshall conceded as much Wednesday.
“Boat down,” Marshall said to laughter.
Marshall said Smith has matured since IK Enemkpali broke the quarterback’s jaw in a locker room altercation last summer, allowing Fitzpatrick to take over the starting job.
“The person who benefitted the most from this last year-and-a-half has been Geno,” Marshall said. “It’s been amazing to see this guy grow and really punch adversity in the face.”
Bowles said it’s possible the team could turn back to Fitzpatrick later on this season. But the journeyman understands his time starting in New York has likely come to a close.
“Realistically, I think they’re going to give Geno his shot. So it would be unfair to him to have him play one game and pull him out,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s either going to sink or swim. …Looking at it, I don’t know if I have another chance.”
DL Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle), LB Darron Lee (sprained ankle), C Nick Mangold (knee), OL Ryan Clady (shoulder) and OL Brent Qvale (neck) did not practice Wednesday. LB David Harris (hamstring) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle), who both missedMonday’s loss in Arizona, returned to practice in a limited role.
OL Breno Giacomini (back) and WR Devin Smith (knee), who’ve both spent the first six weeks on the PUP list, returned to practice Wednesday for the first time this season. They were both limited. The Jets have 21 days to add them to the 53-man roster. If they don’t, then neither player can play this season.
Bowles said he’s made changes to his defensive starters, but wouldn’t share any of those personnel decisions with the media.
Geno Smith will take over for Fitzpatrick under center on Sunday against the Ravens.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News