The conversation about whether or not the New York Jets will come to terms with last year’s starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has finally reached its breaking point, and it’s about time.
With the conclusion of the mandatory mini-camp held by the New York Jets, discussions between the organization and the media in regards to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are seemingly done as well. Despite being receptive thus far to questions related to Fitzpatrick, it appears that head coach Todd Bowles has reached his breaking point in regards to speaking about the situation with former Jets’ quarterback.
Following the conclusion of mini-camp, Bowles had the following to say during his press conference with NewYorkJets.com when asked if quarterback Geno Smith is the the No. 2 quarterback if Fitzpatrick comes back, or if it was up for grabs with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg:
"“With all due respect, I’m through talking about Fitz,” stated Bowles. “I’m going to worry about the guys I have on the team. I think I’ve expressed and said everything about the quarterback that I’m going to say at this standpoint. Until I get to training camp and see what happens, I’m pretty much done talking about it.”"
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To a follow-up question, Bowles indicated Petty would be No. 2 behind Smith if he were the starter in 2016.
It’s great to hear that from Bowles. Well done. It’s about time we hear these spoken words from either Bowles or general manager Mike Maccagnan considering the repeated statements that Fitzpatrick would be the starting quarterback if he re-signs.
But you see, there are still a couple of items that are a bit unsettling.
First, the fact that Bowles and Maccagnan haven’t been able to make up their mind on this matter.
Bowles indicated initially that there is “no drop-dead deadline” for Fitzpatrick, then followed that with indicating Fitzpatrick would lose his starting job if he failed to sign by a certain point in training camp, and now this.
And second is the fact that Fitzpatrick still has a locker in the Jets locker room; his old locker is empty without a nameplate above it, ready to go. In an article by Seth Walder of the New York Daily News, wide receiver Brandon Marshall had the following to say:
"“I think the team, the coaches, people upstairs, guys in the locker room, everyone said it,” Marshall said. “It’s just the business side of things just trying to work itself out. Everyone said he makes us better having him on our team. So obviously there’s opportunity for him to come back.”"
Why? What good does this notion do for Jets players? It’s a distraction to all players, most importantly Smith. Smith needs to be named the guy going forward, especially as things stand in the middle of June, and the Jets need to treat him as such.
Jun 14, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) answers questions from media during OTA at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Remember, Smith beat out Fitzpatrick last season and has shown much promise thus far in the offseason. It’s understood that it’s just the offseason and Smith has shown struggles in the regular season, but he’s also played well in the regular season.
Give Fitzpatrick the advantage with smarts, Smith the advantage in talent. Regardless, the two quarterbacks do not stand far away from each other from a win/loss standpoint: both with a downside of say 6-10, likely to go around the 8-8 or 9-7 area with an upside of replicating last year’s 10-6 season.
Why not save the money in Fitzpatrick’s deal over the next three seasons and address other issues at hand? In the long run, it’s best for business and the future of the Jets.
Let’s stick a fork in this conversation. At the very least, give it a break for a bit as Bowles stated and wait until the first day of practice in training camp, July 28, and quickly stick a fork in it again.