When it comes to Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles may have an idea already of when enough’s enough.
The Jets are in the midst of another minicamp, and their preferred starting quarterback is still on the free agent market.
While Fitzpatrick and the Jets continue to try and work out a new contract, plans to turn to Geno Smith if there’s no resolution could already be in motion, according to Bowles.
Bowles, earlier in the offseason, made it clear he’d like Fitzpatrick to return as the starter. The calendar, however, is inching closer to the opening of training camp, and preseason games are not far behind that. Bowles knows he’ll have to begin looking forward, and he indicated as such when asked if there is a point where the quarterback competition opens up, even if Fitzpatrick returns.
“There probably is a point,” said Bowles at the team’s mandatory minicamp. “It’s no different than an injury. If a guy gets hurt and somebody steps in and you’re like, ‘Hey, these guys are doing pretty good,’ and he wins a couple of games and he plays well, then if it’s not broke, you don’t fix it. But we’re not at that point yet. “
On how open the starting quarterback position is if Fitzpatrick returns early in Training Camp, Bowles said, “I said all along that Ryan (Fitzpatrick) is the starter, obviously if Geno (Smith) plays well and Ryan plays well, Ryan is going to be the starter. If Ryan gets hurt or Ryan doesn’t show and Geno gets in like Ryan did last year and he goes 4-1, things happen.”
Last summer it was Fitzpatrick as the next man up, when Smith was punched in the face by a teammate and suffered a broken jaw as a result of it. Fitzpatrick stepped in and guided New York to a 4-1 start, and he’d remain the starter for the rest of the season, throwing 31 touchdown passes.
If Bowles knows something, he won’t tip his hand; that doesn’t appear to be his style. It’s apparent he’d like to have Fitzpatrick back as his quarterback, however, he’s not going to sacrifice the growth of his team worrying about a situation he can’t control.
On if the Jets will entertain the thought of adding a veteran if Fitzpatrick doesn’t come back, Bowles said, “Yes, we’ll entertain that. We’ve talked about that.”
If there’s a timetable for Fitzpatrick to return to his starting job, it does not appear to be one that Bowles let’s get beyond training camp.
“There comes a point if you get to week four in training camp and he’s not here, you know who your starter is going to be Week One (of the regular season),” said Bowles. “It’s to the extreme, but there is a ticking clock. You have time until you don’t have time.”