The New York Jets haven’t quite had the quarterback carousel Cleveland has had, but there’s certainly been no shortage of controversy.
Following their 24-16 Week 7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was benched to start the tilt but then spearheaded the win after Geno Smith exited with an injury, felt the Jets’ coaches, general manager and owners abandoned their initial faith in him.
“The biggest thing in this game—to last—is to have belief in yourself,” he said. “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.”
Fitzpatrick would go on to say that he probably plays better as an “underdog and pissed off,” and that moving forward he’ll more than likely be “pissed off.”
In light of Fitzpatrick’s postgame comments, head coach Todd Bowles expressed that he’s perfectly fine with his QB’s attitude from here on out if it’ll improve his play. Bowles also downplayed the notion that Jets’ personnel stopped believing and instead wanted his QB to prove himself again.
“If pissed off is going to stop the turnovers, then I’m more than happy to have him pissed off the whole time,” Bowles said. “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 GM doesn’t do his job or the quarterback doesn’t do his job or the team doesn’t do their job, eventually, they’ll replace us all. It’s a show-me game.”
Fitzpatrick has 11 interceptions on the season which leads the NFL for that category and three fumbles to go along with them.
Starting their campaign with a record of 1-5 with Fitzpatrick at the helm, Bowles benched their 2015 full-season starter for Smith after a series of misfortunes and inability to mold any carryover success. Now, with Smith’s 2016 starting bid being short-lived due to a torn ACL he suffered in the second quarter against Baltimore, it’s Fitzpatrick’s show again.
Although the comments brush many as slighting one or the other, Bowles isn’t at all concerned and expects Fitzpatrick, and his team, to turn things around.
“It doesn’t take away from the victory,” he said. “Whatever fuels the fire for a person to play and be competitive, that’s what it is. I know Fitz and I know what he means. I have no problem with him venting his frustrations. Just use it as a positive. If that’s going to cause us to win more ball games, to play pissed off, so be it. As a player, I was pissed off at my coaches sometimes. But that’s just part of being an athlete.”