When Jets head coach Todd Bowles made the decision to go with Ryan Fitzpatrick against the New England Patriots this Sunday, the fan base, along with almost every NFL pundit around, collectively rolled their eyes. In fact, it’s been almost impossible to find anyone that agrees with Bowles’ decision to start embattled QB Ryan Fitzpatrick over up-and-coming Bryce Petty this weekend.
But former Jets great Chad Pennington begs to differ with the masses, speaking out, according to the New York Jets web site, on how he believes Todd is actually doing what’s best for the team and for Petty at the same time.
“The development piece of it — in my opinion — is something that’s talked about way too much,” Pennington said. “Yes you have to develop players, yes there’s a time and place for that. But you have to be judicious in how you do that and when you do that and don’t sacrifice the rest of your team just for the development of one guy.”
The former starting quarterback for the New York Jets from 2002-2007 knows a thing or two about leading a franchise, and believes Petty’s time watching Fitzpatrick under center will only help him and the team.
“I don’t think you’re stunting the growth or the development of Bryce Petty by watching Ryan Fitzpatrick work. By the way, you’re actually probably helping his development because I would imagine he is getting some reps with the ones now. He’s not just running the scout team. With the help of Ryan Fitzpatrick and the state of the team, he is working in there. And also with Geno Smith being injured, he’s getting some of those reps, which is part of his development.”
He also thinks Bowles is trying to keep morale going strong in the locker room by leaning with Fitzpatrick over Petty this week.
“From Coach Bowles’ perspective, he’s trying to generate some positivity in the locker room. How do you do that? By playing good solid football and winning games. And how do you do that? You play the best players who give you the best chance to win the game. And so right now, he’s saying that Ryan Fitzpatrick gives us the best opportunity to win a game.”
Indeed it was reported by NY Daily News Jets columnist Manish Mehta recently that the decision to start Fitzpatrick was Todd’s way of diffusing a delicate locker room situation where veterans might see the move to Petty as the end to their season with six games left to play.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) November 27, 2016
“There are rumblings on One Jets Drive that Bowles is concerned his team will check out if he plays the second-year signal caller against the Patriots on Nov. 27,” Mehta wrote on November 17, following the Jets loss to the Los Angeles Rams. He elaborated further, citing that “the concern in the building is that Petty won’t have the proper support from some veterans, who will mail it in. It’s a precarious position for Bowles, who, frankly, doesn’t need this headache right now.”
In fact, there are rumblings that Bowles’ job may be in jeopardy if the Jets don’t pick up a few more wins this year, which many speculate is why Todd picked Fitzpatrick – who has the worst statistics of any starting quarterback in the league – over Petty.
“If they go 5-11 or 6-10, I think he’s safe,” ESPN‘s Rich Cimini wrote in his most recent blog post. “At 6-10, he’d be 16-16 over two seasons, which would warrant another chance, in my opinion. It’ll be a different story if they lose the rest of the way because an eight-game losing streak would be inexcusable and damning.”
At this rate, Bowles may need to give Chad Pennington a call.
[Featured Image by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images]