Geno or Fitz? Truthfully, it doesn’t matter as much as New York Jets fans might think.
Ryan Fitzpatrick might be having surgery this week to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb, the expected date for the surgery being this Friday after the Jets’ game against the Buffalo Bills Thursday (8:25 p.m., NFL Network. The hope is that he will return in time for the team’s Week 11 game, using the extended time off to maximize his chance to recuperate. If he can’t go or his injured thumb doesn’t respond well, it will be Geno Smith who gets the start.
But the quarterback “controversy” is a secondary issue. The most worrisome issue with the Jets this week is running back Chris Ivory and just how much hamstring and quadriceps injuries are bothering him. Ivory has seen his numbers nosedive in recent weeks, with 84 yards on 55 carries in the past three games combined. Each of the last two games he’s averaged just 1.1. yards per carry.
For someone just a couple weeks removed from being the league’s leading rusher and a big part of the Jets’ rejuvenated offense, it is a giant problem.
Zac Stacy seemingly isn’t an option and Bilal Powell has missed the past couple of games with his own injury concerns. Then there is the curious case of Stevan Ridley, who is practicing but apparently not back from ACL/MCL injury this past offseason.
If Fitzpatrick is unable to go, it isn’t good news but it doesn’t hurt as much as the lack of production the Jets have gotten in recent weeks from their ground game and in particular from Ivory. The fall-off from Fitzpatrick, who has orchestrated the Jets 5-3 start and who was overall solid in Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the backup Smith, who has started much of the last two years, isn’t huge. Fitzpatrick is the better of the two, that much has emerged from the first half of the season, but Smith isn’t a terrible NFL quarterback and might be one of the better backups in the league. When Smith came in to the loss at the Oakland Raiders, he showed an unsurprisingly good amount of rust, but then he settled down. He even did some good things on the field and showed more poise than a lot of critics give him credit for.
Meanwhile, the downturn in Ivory’s production isn’t his fault. The hard-runner is obviously playing he league’s top ground game a month ago to now smack in the middle of the NFL’s rankings. From outstanding to mediocre in less than a month.
Against a team as decidedly bland as the Jaguars, 29 yards running the ball was barely enough. With some tougher defenses ahead, the Jets will need more from their running back rotation, no matter who their QB may be.