Jets QB is TBA with Fitzpatrick, Smith dealing with injuries

November 2, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Jets will have someone lined up at quarterback by the time they play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

Todd Bowles just isn't sure who right now.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has at least one torn ligament in his left thumb and Geno Smith is dealing with a badly bruised left shoulder, leaving the Jets' quarterback situation in disarray. That means rookie Bryce Petty or perhaps someone not even on the team's roster as of Monday night could start the Jets' next game.

''The guys are pretty sore,'' Bowles said of Fitzpatrick and Smith. ''I'll have a better feel come Wednesday.''


That's when the Jets (4-3) next hit the practice field. With the NFL's trade deadline on Tuesday rapidly approaching, there's a possibility New York could add some help at quarterback via a deal or free agent signing.

''Yeah,'' Bowles said during a conference call, ''we're looking at everything right now.''

Both quarterbacks, hurt in Sunday's loss at Oakland, have a chance to play Sunday at home against Jacksonville, depending on how they heal during the week.

''I really think they're both in the same boat right now,'' Bowles said.

In the meantime, Bowles acknowledged that Petty will get snaps with the starters at practice, and he confirmed that re-signing Matt Flynn is a possibility after he spent time with the Jets in training camp.

An MRI exam Monday on Fitzpatrick's thumb revealed a torn ligament that will need surgery. Bowles said Fitzpatrick could potentially put it off until the offseason depending on his pain tolerance.

While it's not his throwing hand, Fitzpatrick could still face some challenges with handling the football if he plays.

''You can't just live in the shotgun,'' Bowles said. ''You have to be able to take snaps under center, as well as be able to hand the ball off both ways.''

Fitzpatrick was hurt on the first drive of the Jets' 34-20 loss when he scrambled for 12 yards and was tackled by Charles Woodson. He had his thumb taped and remained on the sideline as Smith took over - until he, too, was injured.

Smith suffered what Bowles called ''a big bruise'' likely after taking a hard shot to the shoulder from David Amerson at the end of a 29-yard run down the sideline early in the fourth quarter. He remained in the game before coming out briefly - with Fitzpatrick coming back in - later in the quarter when he was hit in the abdomen by Ray-Ray Anderson.

''I thought in both cases, they both should've slid,'' Bowles said. ''We've got to be smarter than that for the good of the team, but you can't fault the competitiveness. We've just got to be a lot smarter.''

Bowles said the Jets probably could bring in another quarterback as late as Wednesday morning to get that player up to speed on the offense before practice.

Fitzpatrick took over as the starting quarterback in early August when Smith had his jaw broken by a punch from then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali in the locker room. Acquired in a trade with Houston in the offseason, Fitzpatrick developed a rapport with wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker while providing a calming veteran presence for the offense.

Fitzpatrick has thrown for 1,518 yards with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. In his first action of the season in relief of Fitzpatrick on Sunday, Smith was 27 of 42 for 265 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. He also led the Jets with 34 yards rushing on two carries.

''I don't think it was that damaging (to the offense),'' Bowles said of Fitzpatrick being sidelined, ''because Geno has played in games and he's a starting-caliber quarterback, and I thought he did some good things.''

Bowles is drawing off his experience in Arizona last season, when he was the defensive coordinator and the Cardinals lost starting quarterback Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton before having to turn to third-stringer Ryan Lindley.

''I've kind of been through it,'' Bowles said. ''We just have to rally as a team and not put so much weight on that position. We've got to play better everywhere else.''

NOTES: WR Brandon Marshall has toe and ankle injuries that he played through Sunday. Bowles said both are ''real sore'' and he isn't sure if Marshall will play against the Jaguars. ''It's too early to tell right now,'' he said. ''We'll have to see how the week progresses for him.'' ... C Nick Mangold missed just the fourth game of his 10-year career with a neck injury, and Bowles is uncertain whether he'll play Sunday. Bowles thought Wesley Johnson did a ''decent'' job filling in.


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