While the New York Jets seem to ignore the calls to make quarterback changes and are keeping Ryan Fitzpatrick on as a starter, it’s hard to say he hasn’t done enough to suggest it may be time to take some drastic measures.
The Jets are 1-5 to start the season after going 10-6 last season. Fitzpatrick, who was signed very late in the preseason due to the contract standoff between the two sides, has been terrible. He has the worst passer rating in the NFL, completing a league worst 57% of his passes (he was never too accurate of a quarterback), and has thrown 11 interceptions to his five touchdown passes. The Jets have the worst offense in the NFL, averaging only 15.8 points per game.
Things hit rock bottom in the 28-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. After putting up 59 points in the first two weeks, the Jets have scored 3, 17, 13 and 3 again in their current streak of four consecutive losses. Even their impressive defensive line and front seven isn’t cutting it anymore, as a slew of penalties suggests Todd Bowles might be losing control of this group, or at least his ability to make a difference in how they perform on the football field.
And maybe that’s the bottom line: Benching Fitzpatrick, especially for Geno Smith, won’t change a thing. Smith came in during the fourth quarter, but Bowles said it was a mop up move, not something that indicates Fitzpatrick will get benched. After the Baltimore Ravens defense (if it’s healthy), Bowles might change his mind, and then it’ll be time to decide, with the season pretty much over, if they’re going with Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg or giving Smith one last chance to try and win the team’s quarterback job, one he had before getting punched in the face over a year ago, which opened the way for Fitzpatrick.
Against the Cardinals, even the usually fantastic run defense couldn’t keep up with David Johnson. Overall, it seems teams have the Jets figured out, and there’s no response from the head coach to change anything. A quarterback controversy is the last thing a losing team needs, but it’s not like the Jets have a rising upcoming star blocked by Fitzpatrick. Smith hasn’t done well and motivation isn’t enough, while Petty hasn’t impressed anyone off the camera, and the same can be said for Hackenberg, who wasn’t very good in college over the last two seasons.
Teams, even 1-5 teams, can turn things around, but it seems highly unlikely in a division that’s run by the New England Patriots, and also has a revamped and scary looking Buffalo Bills, a very different team compared to the one the Jets beat earlier this season. Maybe Bowles has an answer to this season falling apart before the halfway mark, but pretty soon the voices calling for his firing will be louder, unless he sacrifices his starting quarterback, which is going to make a lot of sense if the Jets continue to look terrible after the game against the Ravens.