Geno Smith’s opportunity as the Jets starting quarterback was short-lived, and now his season appears to be over.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Smith tore his ACL during the first half of Sunday’s win against the Baltimore Ravens. Smith left the game and went to the locker room late in the first half and was spotted standing in street clothes on the sideline during the second half. Smith told reporters he felt fine after the game, but Rapoport says the MRI revealed a much worse diagnosis.
Smith was starting his first game since Week 17 of the 2014 season Sunday. He had completed 4-of-8 passes for 95 yards and a 69-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Enunwa before injuring his knee while being sacked by Matt Judon midway through the second quarter.
Ryan Fitzpatrick returned to action after being benched in favor of Smith. He led the Jets to a touchdown on his first drive back under center and finished the game 9-of-14 with 120 yards and a touchdown pass to Matt Forte.
Fitzpatrick was benched after New York suffered its fourth-straight loss to the Arizona Cardinals in an embarrassing 28-3 defeat on Monday Night Football.
Smith’s injury continues the saga that is the Jets quarterback situation. Keep in mind, the starting job was Smith’s to lose entering the 2015 season. Fitzpatrick was acquired from the Houston Texans for a late draft pick to serve as a veteran backup, but was called into duty after IK Enemkpali broke Smith’s jaw during 2015 training camp. Fitzpatrick seized the opportunity and thrived, throwing a franchise record 31 touchdown passes and helping the Jets to a 10-6 campaign.
The one thing Fitzpatrick didn’t do was get the Jets to the playoffs, as he imploded in a Week 17 loss to Buffalo that cost the Jets a playoff spot. Jets’ brass still clearly didn’t believe much in Smith and ultimately caved to Fitzpatrick’s contract demands, giving him $12 million for one season.
The Jets also have quarterbacks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg on their roster. Petty was a 2015 fourth-round pick who has yet to take a regular season snap. The Jets shocked many by drafting Hackenberg in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but many insiders believe Hackenberg isn’t ready to step into action yet after playing sparingly in the preseason.
Once again, the Jets have a quarterback controversy. Then again, what else is new?