NFL

NFL PM: Geno Smith’s Injury Forces Jets Back To Ryan Fitzpatrick

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QB Carousel Back on Fitz

Just a week ago much of America (Football Insiders included) called for the benching of Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Roughly 48 hours later it happened and Geno Smith was once again the New York Jets starting quarterback.

That was fun while it lasted.  What we mean by fun is subpar and mediocre, and it lasted for roughly one quarter of football before Smith left with a knee injury.

Smith’s injury was confirmed today by the Jets as a torn ACL.

“He had some tests run and it came back positive,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said of Smith. “They said he had a torn ACL and he’d be done for the year. When you hear that, it’s tough luck for the kid and you go from there. (Ryan) Fitzpatrick finished the game up and we’re going from there with Fitzpatrick.”

The move to go back to Fitzpatrick was made easier by his play, as he led the Jets to a come from behind victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, completing 9 of 14 throws, for 120 yards with a touchdown.

Just like Fitz’s up and down career, the feel good moment from the victory was muted by his post-game comments.

“The biggest thing in this game — to last — is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said (via NFL.com). “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s kind of something I’ve dealt with before and something I’m dealing with now.”

Obviously the Harvard grad’s play on the field is what earned him the position of clipboard holder, not any sort of conspiracy.

“When you get put on the bench, I think that’s the reason why.” Fitzparick told reporters. “People giving up on you, and then having to see them every day, that stuff is not necessarily the easiest in the world, but something that you try to deal with as mature as you can and move on.”

Those comments didn’t exactly endear him to his employers and both sides now have to live with each other for the better part of nine games, as it appears that the team has little to no confidence in Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg.

Bowles was asked if he believed that Fitzpatrick would play out the string “pissed off.”

“If pissed off is going to stop the turnovers, then I’m more than happy to have him pissed off the whole time,” the head coach joked. “This is a show-me game. It’s nothing about belief or non-belief. People get assigned to do jobs and they do them. If I don’t do my job or the (general manager) doesn’t do his job and the quarterback doesn’t do his job and the team doesn’t do (its) job, eventually, they’ll replace us all. It’s a show-me game.”

Bowles is completely correct and the ironic part of this entire situation is that if the head coach and general manager Mike Maccagnan are going to keep their jobs, it will likely be from the competent play of Fitzpatrick.

The Jets are going to move on from Fitz as soon as the season ends and everyone in the building knows it.  At this point, as much disdain as both the quarterback and the front office have for each other, they both need each other badly.  The front office to make a compelling case to keep their jobs and Fitzpatrick for an outlet to showcase whatever talent remains in his soon to be 34 year old right arm.

As for Geno Smith, his career in New York is most likely over and there’s nothing that he’s put on film over the past three years that says he can be a starter in the NFL.  With that said, he’s likely one of the best 64 quarterbacks in the world and he should get a chance to have a nice career as a backup.

Bortles Remains The Starter In Jacksonville

One of the biggest disappointments of the 2016 NFL season has been the Jacksonville Jaguars, and no Jags player has been a bigger disappointment than former No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles.

After throwing for 35 touchdowns last season, Bortles has regressed back to his rookie form which he was a turnover machine and the team lost week after week.

The Jaguars, the team that won the meaningless offseason title for most improved team is just 2-4 after six games, and could easily be 0-6.  Bortles is completing less than 60 percent of his throws with nine touchdowns and nine interceptions.  His quarterback rating of 76.4 ranks him 28th in the NFL.

“I think there are a combination of things,” Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley explained when talking about his quarterback’s struggles. “I came in and watched it last night extensively. When we got behind they had the ability to play certain coverages that makes it very challenging. Where they knew we had to pass, they could rev up their pass rush and you have to win on the routes and you have to throw real accurate passes in those situations and we just didn’t have enough of them.”

The Jaguars wouldn’t have been in those must-throw situations if Bortles had performed better over the first three quarters of the game.

There was talk about the team pulling the proverbial plug on Bortles in favor of Chad Henne, but Bradley definitively denied that.

“I firmly, firmly believe in Blake Bortles,” the head coach on perhaps the hottest seat in the NFL said. “Without a doubt, I think it was a challenging game yesterday like I said earlier about some of the situations we were in, but as far as a competitor and toughness and what he brings to this team, there is no doubt.”

Sticking with Bortles is the right move for Jacksonville. Even though his mechanics have regressed significantly, he’s still a much better option than Henne.  Even if he wasn’t, pulling the former UCF star is an admission that the last two and half years were a failure and that everyone needs a fresh start, from the front office all the way down.

That could very well be the case, but the Jaguars are clearly not a contender now, and certainly won’t be with Henne.  It’s best to let this play out and make a more informed decision at season’s end.


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.