The New York Jets are making a drastic change just six weeks into a dismal 2016 campaign.
The Jets are benching quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and will start Geno Smith this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
New York has started the season 1-5 after shelling out $12 million to bring Fitzpatrick back as a bridge quarterback. That bridge has seemingly collapsed, as Fitzpatrick has thrown for 11 interceptions in six games after setting the franchise’s single-season touchdown record in his debut season with Gang Green.
While Fitzpatrick has been bad, Smith certainly isn’t a clear-cut solution. This move was looming after Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of Smith during Monday night’s 28-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Smith played one drive, during which he nearly lost a fumble after being sacked and then threw a fourth down interception.
Smith was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft and was thrown into action as a rookie after Mark Sanchez was injured during the preseason. Smith struggled as the starter during his first two seasons. He has an 11-18 record as a starter with 27 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.
Of course, Fitzpatrick wasn’t supposed to be the starting quarterback. The Jets acquired Fitzpatrick for what turned out to be a sixth-round pick during the 2015 offseason to be a veteran backup. Fitzpatrick quickly became the starter after Smith broke his jaw after being sucker-punched by IK Enemkpali during training camp last year.
This decision comes on the same day Jets owner Woody Johnson gave coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan a vote of confidence after reports surfaced Johnson was frustrated with the team’s start.
“We got 10 games to go. I’m very confident with (coach) Todd Bowles and (general manager) Mike (Maccagnan),” Johnson said, according to NFL.com. “I think we’ve got an excellent team (of leaders). I really respect Todd, I know he’s doing what he’s going to do. It’s football. He’s a good coach. I have long-term confidence in him and in Mike and in their teams.