Geno Smith wanted another chance to be the Jets starting quarterback, well be careful what you wish for.
When the Jets take the field against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday at MetLife Stadium, Smith will be leading the offense at quarterback.
Head coach Todd Bowles, apparently after further review of the videotape from his team’s miserable 28-3 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals, has decided to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick in favor of Smith.
The Jets were hoping Fitzpatrick could build off the success he had last season when he stepped in for an injured Smith and took the team to within one game of the playoffs. They re-signed him to a $12 million one-year deal on the eve of training camp.
It hasn’t gone as planned for Fitzpatrick this season, he’s thrown a league-leading 11 interceptions and the Jets have a disappointing record of 1-5.
The numbers were screaming for Bowles to make a change at quarterback, there was just no way around how poorly Fitzpatrick has played this season.
Bowles, after initially telling the media following the Arizona loss that Fitzpatrick was still the starter, made an about-face on his position the next day and informed his quarterbacks of the change.
When asked if there was influence from anyone else, perhaps general manager Mike Maccagnan or team owner Woody Johnson, Bowles said “This was strictly my call.”
If it was indeed his call or not can be debated, this move by Bowles, however, was a no-brainer which arguably could have been made a week or two earlier.
It remains to be seen now if Smith can provide a spark for a stagnant Jets offense, he’s in the final year of his contract and this is most likely his last chance to prove himself while with this team.
“I felt like it was time for a change,” Bowles said. “We had six games where we didn’t play very well in five of them. The quarterback is ultimately responsible but I’m responsible, the rest of the team is responsible. I felt like it would be a good time to make a change to see what he can do”
The Jets are coming off a brutal six-game stretch to start the season, the hope would be they can find a way back to .500 with the help of a softer schedule.
The Ravens, ravaged by injuries, are 3-3 and quarterback Joe Flacco is banged up and has already sat out a practice this week. The following two games for the Jets are the 0-6 Cleveland Browns and 2-4 Miami Dolphins.
It’s a chance for Smith to step in and maybe open some eyes, if not on the Jets then at least around the league for teams which may show interest in the off-season.
Bowles was asked if Smith gives the Jets the best chance to win or is it that the team just needs a spark?
“Little bit of both,” Bowles said. We’ve been stagnant on offense. Not to say we’ve been great on defense either but we’ve been stagnant on offense and we have some things in place where we think another quarterback will probably right now be beneficial.”
Smith adds a mobility factor that Fitzpatrick doesn’t have, he also has a strong arm. The potential is there, it’s just a matter of can he put it all together and take care of the football.
Right now, considering the way things have gone, the Jets would have to be satisfied if Smith just doesn’t turn the football over. He’ll need help from a running game which has been non-existent and the defense must step it up.
The odd of Smith coming off the bench and suddenly lighting it up for the Jets are slim to none. But a change had to be made and when you look at the alternatives, it can’t hurt to send him out there and get a good look at what’s there before the offseason.
The Jets still have youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg they’ll need to evaluate, chances are we’ll see at least one of them in a game before this season is over.
In the meanwhile, this is now Smith’s show. He wanted a chance, Bowles is giving him one.