Oh, how quickly things can change in New York.
Only three months shy of a contract dispute that lasted nearly the entire off season, Ryan Fitzpatrick is in serious jeopardy of losing his starting job for the New York Jets to Geno Smith if his performance continues to slip. Nine interceptions in two games will do that to you no matter how well you played the previous year.
“Bowles and the players have gone out of their way to defend Fitzpatrick, who deserves the chance to fight his way out of this funk,” Rich Cimini of ESPN points out, “but the interceptions have to stop or else he’ll force Bowles into a decision.”
But he’s in the minority. Most pundits are over-the-top calling for Fitzpatrick’s head. Former Jets running back LaDanian Tomlinson, as reported by NJ Dot Com, thinks its time to make the switch to Geno Smith.
“You can’t throw nine picks in two weeks and think you can keep your starting job. Meanwhile, Geno Smith beat you out two years ago, and he’s still on the bench. Come on, man. Roll it. It’s time to get Geno in there, because Ryan Fitz-tragic is taking over, and it’s not good.”
Meanwhile, Coach Todd Bowles told the NY Daily News that it’s time Fitzpatrick stops trying to be “Superman” as he calls it and gets back to playing the kind of football that found him breaking NY Jets team records last season.
“He can’t put the game on his shoulders and try to be Superman,” Bowles said of Fitzpatrick. “If it’s not there, it’s not there. Whether we take the sack or we throw it out of bounds or we punt and move on, ball security is what wins in this league. The big difference between last year’s first quarter and this year’s first quarter is that we got a ton of turnovers (in 2015). And this year, we gave up a bunch of turnovers. That’s really the 3-1 and 1-3 scenario when you break it all down.”
CBS Sports thinks Geno Smith is ripe to take over, citing the fact that he’s had time to learn the offense better in year two under Chan Gailey.
“While the fan base has been negative towards Smith, given his tumultuous stint with the team, he has continued to better grasp coordinator Chan Gailey’s offense, I’m told, and with the team excited about its array of weapons — including new tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who’s set to make his debut this weekend — it would not be averse to giving Smith a look if Fitzpatrick can not improve his play.”
But not everyone is ready to lay the blame for the Jets early season woes on Fitzpatrick. The NY Post for example, thinks injuries have a hand in both his early season woes and his chance at redemption. They’re citing the injuries to Eric Decker, Jalin Marshall and now breakout receiver Quincy Enunwa, who missed Friday’s practice with a sore knee, as evidence that Ryan isn’t completely to blame.
Regardless, it’s been quite the year thus far for Fitzpatrick, who went from breaking team records, to blowing the Jets one chance at snapping their playoff drought in Buffalo in January, to holding out and having his teammates lobby hard for his return. He ultimately signed a one year, $12 million dollar deal after holding out right up to training camp. By doing so, and demanding big bucks (even though not one other team was willing to give into his demands) Fitzpatrick entered the season with lofty expectations.
Ten interceptions later, Ryan Fitzpatrick may soon be out of a starting job.
[Featured Image by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]