NFL AM: Jets Need A Permanent Change At Quarterback


Fitzpatrick Experiment Should Be Finished

Any hopes of the New York Jets building upon 2015’s 10-6 season and earning a playoff berth fell with a whopping thud on Monday evening as they lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 28-3, in a game which wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.  New York fell to 1-5 and currently have the second-worst record in the AFC, only ahead of the winless, hapless Cleveland Browns.

To say that 2016 has been a disappointment would be a wild understatement.

“Just frustration,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “We’re not putting up points. We’re not winning the game. Our record isn’t what we thought it would be or what we think we are.”

Fitzpatrick is far from the only problem in New York, but he’s the most visible one, and head coach Todd Bowles needs to make a change before he, too goes down with the Fitzpatrick ship.  Bowles sat his starting quarterback down roughly halfway through the fourth quarter Monday night, but said that it’s not a permanent move.

“Fitz will be back next week,” Bowles said after the loss.

The other options on the Jets roster look less than appetizing, but when something clearly isn’t working how smart is it to keep going back to it?

Fitzpatrick is arguably the worst quarterback east of San Francisco, as he’s completed just 57 percent of his throws, with six touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  His quarterback rating of 63.8 ranks him 31st in the NFL, last among qualified starters.  What’s worse is that Fitz has thrown for zero touchdowns in the fourth quarter with 10 interceptions.  When the game is on the line he’s playing his worst football.

Bowles pulled Fitz for Geno Smith, who was once the future of the Jets franchise on Monday and the results were less than inspiring.  Although he completed four of his six passes for 31 yards, he tossed an interception.  There was no lightning in a bottle.

“It’s not that I have no confidence in Geno,” Bowles said. “We have two quarterbacks that can play right now. Fitz is our starter. Anybody back there would’ve been under duress today.”

The offensive line did a poor job on Monday night, but throughout the season they have been pretty good in pass protection.  It’s just that Fitzpatrick has been terrible.

At 1-5, the Jets don’t have much to lose by making a change.  They selected Christian Hackenberg in the second round of the draft and by all accounts he’s not ready to play.  Perhaps Bowles should see how “not ready” he actually is?  Or even go to Bryce Petty, the former fourth round draft pick from 2015.  Could either of them be much worse than Fitzpatrick?  If they are, who cares?  Losing games at this point in the season can only help the team get closer to a very high draft pick where they can maybe get the franchise quarterback that’s eluded this franchise for so long.

Even Bowles admitted that Smith can play, perhaps he should be the guy?  They went into the 2015 training camp with the former second-round pick from West Virginia as the unquestioned starter before IK Enemkpali broke his jaw which allowed Fitzpatrick to take over.  There had to be a reason why Smith was tops on the depth chart then, right?

What we do know is that the quarterback position is broken in New York with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the $12 million the team is paying him is probably better served with a clipboard rather than taking developmental snaps from younger guys.

Big Ben Undergoes Surgery

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss Sunday’s Week 7 game against the New England Patriots as he went under the knife after suffering a torn meniscus in the team’s loss to the Miami Dolphins, the team said in a statement.

“Ben Roethlisberger underwent a successful outpatient arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this morning,” head coach Mike Tomlin’s statement read. “He is now recovering at home and is expected to make a full recovery.

“Though we do not know a specific timetable for when he will be able to return to the field, we are confident this injury is not long-term.”

The Steelers seem confident that the injury is not of the long term variety and the team has a bye week following the New England game.  Sources tell Football Insiders that the team expects to have Roethlisberger back when they travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens on November 6th.

In the meantime Pittsburgh will start Landry Jones, who started two games for Roethlisberger during last season and went 1-1.  Jones has completed 32 of 56 passes in his career with three touchdowns and four interceptions.  He will need to have a monumental effort to beat the Patriots on Sunday, who are 5-1 and look like the best team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL.

Jones has grown as a quarterback in the eyes of many in the Steelers organization and Roethlisberger certainly took notice in the offseason.

“I noticed the confidence,” Roethlisberger said of Jones. “He’s always been really smart. He knows the playbook, he knows what’s going on. But to be able to be on the football field, and actually be under fire, if you will, as compared to being on the practice field is a big difference.

“So for him to get that experience last year I think really paid off a lot for him.”

He’s sure to get another lesson under the fire this week.

Chiefs Deal Knile Davis To Packers

The Green Bay Packers have been looking for some more balance to their offense and they have reportedly made a deal for Kansas City Chiefs reserve Knile Davis, according to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star.

The trade makes perfect sense as the Chiefs have a plethora of running backs, so many that Davis can’t even see the field, and Green Bay has a need at the position.  Eddie Lacy has a sore ankle and his backup James Starks has to have surgery for an injured knee.

Green Bay is reportedly giving up a conditional late-round pick, which would be considered small pittance for some in-season running back depth.

Davis should welcome the move as he would most certainly receive more playing time than he did in Kansas City’s running back logjam.

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.