The soap opera which has become the 2016-17 season for the New York Jets continues with yet another plot twist.
Head coach Todd Bowles announced Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starting quarterback for the Jets’ upcoming game against the New England Patriots.
Fitzpatrick is coming off of a sprained knee which put him on the bench for the Jets’ last game against the Los Angeles Rams. The Jets started Bryce Petty and, although the Jets lost the game, he finished 19 of 32 with one touchdown and one interception.
Petty’s performance wasn’t eye-opening in a good or bad way, it was average at best. The Jets, however, are a 3-7 football team with little to zero chance of making the playoffs.
Why not play Petty, and find out what you have in the second-year pro, instead of putting Fitzpatrick back in there?
Bowles, when asked why, made it sound pretty simple.
“He’s healthy,” said Bowles.
Yes, Jets fans, there’s your explanation.
Sure, Fitzpatrick has a league-leading 13 interceptions but, so what? If you let Bowles tell it, he still gives the Jets their best chance to win.
And nevermind that Fitzpatrick, and his one-year, $12 million contract, leaves him as a lame duck free agent with little chance of returning in 2017. Far as the Jets are concerned, no matter how bad it’s looked this season, it’s still Fitz or bust.
The Jets, coming off a bye week, had a week to think about this. They had a week to get Petty ready for the Patriots. Bowles and the Jets always had other plans, and they didn’t include starting Petty opposite future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
Delusional to stay with Fitzpatrick? Maybe, but in the sense of believing in something which just isn’t realistic.
Fitzpatrick isn’t going on a magical run to lead the Jets back to .500 and this team isn’t making the playoffs.
The Jets appear to be doing what they always seem to do, play for the moment and worry about the future later.
The Jets played cat and mouse throughout the offseason with Fitzpatrick before eventually signing, and overpaying, him shortly before the start training camp. All because they convinced themselves Fitzpatrick, after leading them to within one win of securing a playoff spot last season, was the missing piece to get over the hump.
But it hasn’t worked for Fitzpatrick this season and everyone knows it. Even if the Jets defeat New England, with Fitzpatrick, they’re still a 4-7 team fading from the playoff picture.
Running Fitzpatrick back out there, best chance to win or not, only pushes back the inevitable. This is still a team with two young quarterbacks, Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg, that need time on the field in order to help assess just how much work has to be done in the offseason.
But don’t try and explain this to the Jets. They’ve made it clear where they stand and it’s still with Fitzpatrick as their “best chance to win”.
The Jets, at 3-7 and facing another January watching the playoffs from home, only see what’s directly in front of them. This week, that happens to be Tom Brady and the Patriots, their division rivals.
Nevermind the future, for now, let’s beat the Patriots.
It reeks of everything that’s been wrong with this team, a stench getting stronger with every week Petty and Hackenberg are holding matching clipboards.