Geno Smith will make his first NFL start in nearly two years when he replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Jets’ quarterback on Sunday.
Smith, 26, last started against the Ravens on 28 December 2014, but he will take over from Fitzpatrick to try to snap the team’s four-game losing streak.
At the NFL fall meetings in Houston on Wednesday, Jets owner Woody Johnson says it was coach Todd Bowles’ decision and he is “behind the coach 100%.”
Fitzpatrick was pulled in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s 28-3 loss to the Cardinals, and replaced by Smith. After the game, Todd Bowles insisted that Fitzpatrick was the undisputed No1, saying: “Fitz will be back next week. Fitz is our starter.” But on Tuesday he rowed back from those comments, and said he would be discussing the quarterback issue with his staff.
Smith, who was picked up 39th overall in the 2013 draft, showed glimpses of his quality in his first two seasons, but only managed an 11-18 starting record in his first two seasons, along with 34 interceptions and 71 sacks.
Smith was the presumptive starter in 2015, but he lost the job after breaking his jaw in a fight with team-mate IK Enemkpali in pre-season. Fitzpatrick, newly picked up from Houston, was promoted to the starting spot.
Fitzpatrick enjoyed a career year in 2015, but has been error-prone so far this season as the Jets have fallen to 1-5. No player has thrown more interceptions than Fitzpatrick’s 11, and he has managed only three touchdowns passes in the past four games.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, meanwhile, missed practice on Wednesday with a right shoulder injury but expects to play on Sunday. “I have a little shoulder soreness,” he said. “A little bit of rest right now is probably the best thing.”
The injury occurred last Sunday during a 27-23 loss to the New York Giants. Flacco said he didn’t feel any pain until after the game. When asked about the results of an MRI, Flacco said: “It’s nothing to worry about.”
Coach John Harbaugh says Flacco could face the Jets even if he doesn’t practice this week. “I believe he’s got a legitimate chance to play,” Harbaugh said.
This article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 19th October 2016 17.07 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010