NFL Wire News

Dog bites man; Jets have QB controversy


The Sports Xchange

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets have a new regime but the same old confounding chatter about competition at quarterback.

The Jets’ ever-murky quarterback situation got cloudier Wednesday when head coach Todd Bowles said there would be competition for the starting job between oft-harried incumbent Geno Smith, newcomers Ryan Fitzpatrick and Bryce Petty and holdover Matt Simms.

“Come camp time, there will be competition at that spot,” Bowles said. “I’ve said it from day one.”

But Bowles spoke just seven days after offensive coordinator Chan Gailey declared Smith the starter. Gailey said there “wasn’t a thought” given to an open competition and he expected Smith to start against the Cleveland Browns in the regular season opener on Sept. 13 at MetLife Stadium.

“That’s the way we expect it to be,” Gailey said, “Unless something happens with an injury, something that you don’t foresee, that’s how we anticipate it going.”

Not so fast.

“I view it as an open competition, with Geno being the starter,” Bowles said. “It’s his to lose. It’s Ryan’s to take. It’s Bryce’s to take. It’s Matt’s to take.”

While there is once again confusion about the definition of competition at quarterback, at least it is coming from two coaches and not the general manager. During former general manager John Idzik’s two years at the helm, he spoke often of creating a competitive culture like the one he said he helped build as a salary cap guru with the Seattle Seahawks.

But last summer, Idzik didn’t allow veteran Michael Vick to compete with Smith, whom Idzik selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. Smith face-planted throughout the first half of the season, but Vick looked disinterested and ill-prepared when he started games in place of Smith, who won back the job for the final month.

Bowles said he wasn’t worried about a disconnect with his hand-picked offensive coordinator. He chalked Gailey’s comments up to his “very matter-of-fact personality.”

Also, Smith has an obvious advantage because he has two years of starting experience with the Jets and Fitzpatrick is recovering from a broken leg, Petty is a rookie and Simms has yet to see anything other than mop-up duty as a pro.

“We’re always on the same page,” Bowles said.

Perhaps, but the book just got a little more interesting.

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