(Joe McDonald/Sportsday Wire)
Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles said on Monday that Jets starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will not play in the preseason finale on Thursday and that backup Matt Flynn should get the start.
The plan is also for Josh Johnson to backup Flynn against the Eagles on Thursday. The fourth quarterback, Bryce Petty, will likely not see any action.
The Jets acquired Johnson late last week from the Bengals and he did not see any action in the Jets’ 28-18 win over the Giants on Saturday night. Flynn also did not play this past Saturday, as he was dealing with a hamstring injury. Petty completed five of eight passes for 42 yards backing up Fitzpatrick on Saturday, and in the preseason overall is 27-for-45 with 260 yards and a touchdown.
Bowles said on Monday of Flynn being closer to where they need him to be in order to have him play, “Yes, he’s a lot closer than what he was last week.”
On if he believes Flynn should be able to play Thursday, Bowles said, “I’m hopeful that he is. If he stays healthy this week and has a good week of practice the next two days, yes, he’ll play.”
Fitzpatrick said of Bowles wanting to evaluate Flynn and Johnson this week, “It’s tough for a quarterback to come in without much time, not much familiarity between receivers and tight ends and running backs. You’re learning the cadence, let alone the formations and the plays. So, it won’t be the easiest of situations, but those two guys are veterans, they’ve played football, they’ve been in a lot of different offenses, so hopefully they’ll be able to pick it up well.”
On how he has helped Bryce Petty during training camp, Fitzpatrick said, “There’s a lot of work that’s done off the field. When we’re on the field, I just try to preach that everything matters, every rep matters, whether it’s with the scout team, the first, second, third team, you’re always working on your fundamentals and always working to get better. Defensive recognition, even if it’s in scout team, figuring out what the defense is doing and throwing the ball at the right place, you always have to tune your mind to that.”
Bowles said of Petty doing enough this preseason to put himself in the backup role as the second-string quarterback, “I didn’t say he was the backup, I just said I needed to see the other two. I’ve seen Bryce for two games, three games as a matter of fact. I want to see the other two play. The debate right now is whether to play Bryce more without seeing the other two and giving them a fair shake, but I really want to see the other two, so I haven’t decided that yet.”
Fitzpatrick said of how he approaches this week of practice, “The fourth preseason game is obviously one where a lot of other guys will get time and so, for me, it’s just, in practice, staying sharp, staying up with the conditioning, making all the throws and all of that. Also, trying to help out as much as possible. I remember when I was in that situation a lot, fighting for a spot on the team in that last preseason game, so just trying to give everything I have in terms of being able to help guys as well.”
On whether he would like to play in the final preseason game, Fitzpatrick said, “We’ll see what happens, but I think we got what we needed accomplished throughout the preseason so far.”
Fitzpatrick said of how important it was for the first-team offense to play the way they did on Saturday against the Giants, “I mean, I don’t know. I think it makes it easier just in the sense that now all the talk isn’t about not scoring at all and what’s wrong with the offense. So, in that regard it makes it easier, but we still have a lot of work to do and I think we all know that in this locker room and we know that we’re continuing to get better each week. The preparation is going to pick up from here and now it becomes serious.”
The running game did very well against the Giants, with Zac Stacy running for 60 yards on 13 carries and Chris Ivory getting 38 yards on 5 carries.
Fitzpatrick said of whether he sees a difference in the offense when the running game has success, “When we’re able to run the ball like that, I think any team, when you’re able to run the ball, it makes everybody’s job easier. Up front, I know that our guys enjoy that, you’re kind of imposing your will on the other team. We have some really good running backs here, they’ve shown a lot this preseason and throughout their careers, so that will be a big focus for us this year and an important piece for us.”
On the way the offensive line played in the last game, Fitzpatrick said, “We can’t take too much from it just being a preseason game, but it’s a group that I’m very confident with heading into the season.”
On how pleased he was with the way they protected the football against the Giants on Saturday night, Fitzpatrick said, “That’s going to be important for us all year long, protecting the football, not taking sacks, not taking those negative plays. That was something that was good the first three preseason games to come out clean, but that’s going to be a focus for us all year long.”