McDonald: Like It Or Not The Jets Now Have A Quarterback Controversy

You knew this was going to happen. It was as predictable as J-E-T-S spells Jets. Geno Smith in his first start of the season as the No. 1 quarterback goes down in the second quarter with a knee injury and Ryan Fitzpatrick comes in and leads the Jets to a 24-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

All of a sudden you have a quarterback controversy.

And as predictable as anything, both players obviously expect to be the No. 1 quarterback next week in Cleveland.

“I don’t know what decision they are going to make or what Geno’s health is going to be like, but I think I should start every week,” Fitzpatrick said.

At least Smith was a little less definitive. “We’ll see,” he said. “Coach is going to make the decision. The doctors have to make their decision first, so we’ll see.”

It’s going to be an interesting decision for coach Todd Bowles. Both Fitzpatrick and Smith are not perfect solutions, but if Bowles’ goal is to save the season, he will have to pick one and live with it. You cannot have this over the team’s head or the Jets may have a high enough pick next year for a franchise quarterback.

Obviously, Smith’s knee is going to be the deciding factor. However, if he’s healthy, he didn’t do anything to lose his job.

And for the first six weeks, Fitzpatrick stunk up the joint, leading his club to the 1-5 record coming into this game. You have to wonder if he is the Wilmer Flores of NFL. You have to threaten his job for Fitzpatrick to produce.

At least his head is still on straight.

“It’s not easy, but I think my teammates believing in me is a big thing,” Fitzpatrick said. “Their opinion of me, that’s kind of what drives me and what matters and so I know I still have that belief in the huddle, so that’s important to me. I’m human, so it’s not the easiest thing in the world to deal with, but it’s something that I’ve dealt with, and again just relying on my support system and believing in myself is the biggest thing.”

Honestly, neither candidate is a perfect quarterback, but with games against the Browns, Dolphins, and Rams coming up, the Jets can climb back to .500 by the middle of next month and possibly be in the race for the playoffs.

If just making the playoffs and hoping for the best is Bowles goal, then fine start Fitzpatrick. You know what you are going to get. We’ve seen him at his best last year and this year, his worst.

Now he seems to have gotten everything together. At least for this week.

But if the real goal is to see if they have something with Smith or Bryce Petty or even Christian Hackenberg, then Fitzpatrick needs to stay in his role as super backup and the younger players needs to start.

Of course Bowles, who never lets anything out, gave middle of the role responses when it came to his quarterbacks.

On Smith: “I thought he was doing alright. He was moving the ball a little bit. We hadn’t opened up the offense yet, but he was poised. He was fine.”

And then there was this barn burner when it came to Fitzpatrick. “He did a good job controlling the ball. There is one play we’d like to have back on the third-and-inches when he threw an incomplete pass to Brandon (Marshall). Other than that, he was fine.”

Okay, so he hedged his bet and he did say he wants to see Smith’s health before making a decision. But is No. 7 is healthy, then Bowles will have one unhappy quarterback on his hand.

Add to that if the Browns happen to beat the Jets next week, there will be second guessing when it comes to who is under center.

You know that is going to happen.

It’s as easy as spelling J-E-T-S.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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