After six mostly horrific games from Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets head coach Todd Bowles has named Geno Smith the starting quarterback. Smith, who has appeared in just two games since 2014, will start at home this Sunday against Baltimore (3-3).
“Yeah, I wasn’t really surprised they made the move,” WFAN Jets reporter Chris Lopresti said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Honestly, though, if I had to flip a coin for this week, I thought Bowles might give Fitzpatrick one more week just because he was so emphatic about it after the loss Monday night in Arizona. He came right out and said, ‘It definitely wasn’t Fitzpatrick’s fault. He has no time to throw tonight. He’s still going to be the guy next week.’ It sure sounded like he wasn’t contemplating making any changes, and then less than 24 hours later when we had him on a conference call on late-Tuesday afternoon, it was a much different story. I don’t know if it was just the long flight back, if it was him reviewing film on Tuesday, if it was him talking to his staff or the GM or the owner, but obviously there was a change in what he wanted to do and he made it official (Wednesday) at his press conference.”
The Jets (1-5) have lost four straight games by an average of 18.5 points. In the Super Bowl era, only one team has made the playoffs with a 1-5 record.
“The Jets are going nowhere in terms of the playoffs,” Lopresti said. “Things have gone horribly wrong on offense. It’s not just Fitzpatrick, but he’s been at the forefront of it. The turnovers have been horrendous, they’re not even scoring points, they’ve scored two legitimate offensive touchdowns in the last four games – something had to be done, and more often than not when that’s the case, it’s a quarterback change that’s going to take place. I don’t expect Geno to go in there and light the world on fire. But just for the sake of making a change and trying to light a spark, I’m not really surprised they made a move.”
As bad as Fitzpatrick has been this year – he has five touchdowns to 11 interceptions – Smith, with 27 touchdowns and 36 career interceptions, hasn’t fared much better. He struggles with decision-making and reading defenses. He relieved Fitzpatrick in the Jets’ 28-3 loss at Arizona on Monday, completing four of six passes for 31 yards and an interception.
“I don’t know if that’s something you just kind of turn the switch on here after you’ve had 30-some starts in the NFL,” Lopresti said. “Like I said, I don’t expect him to come in and light the world on fire or anything. Could they win a couple of games against the softer part of their schedule and maybe get things going back in the right direction? It’s possible. But ultimately, I don’t think that Geno Smith has a future with this organization past this season.”