After an unexpected 2015 season saw the New York Jets go 10-6 and fall one game short of the playoffs because of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick having a year for the ages, the Jets seemed ready to take the next step in 2016. The Jets re-signed Fitzpatrick during the offseason in hopes that he can retain his 2015 form. Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick has struggled and during the Jets 28-3 loss on Monday Night to the Arizona Cardinals, Fitzpatrick was benched for former 2013 2nd round pick Geno Smith late in the 4th quarter. After the game, head coach Todd Bowles implied that Fitzpatrick was still the starter and that Smith was used as a "relief pitcher."
On Tuesday however, Bowles retracted his previous statement. Per ESPN's Rich Cimini, Bowles stated "First of all, after the game, its always going to be status quo because I'm never going to tell the media anything before I meet with my coaches and my GM and the rest of the staff, so everything is status quo until we have our meeting." Bowles later stated that "there's a possibility every week there will be some changes made, player-wise."
It is interesting how Bowles decided to go back on his previous comments after the Jets loss on Monday. He even brought up that its possible that the other quarterbacks on the roster, Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg, could play at some point this season. The question going into this game for the Baltimore Ravens is who will this team face, Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick? No matter who the starter is, defensive coordinator Dean Pees will have to get his defense ready for both quarterbacks in this must win game for both teams, especially the Ravens. Pees will have to do it with possibly no Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, C.J. Mosley and Jimmy Smith on the field Sunday afternoon.
The Ravens only faced the former West Virginia Mountaineer standout once during his rookie season in 2013. Smith completed 9 of 22 passes for 127 yards and two interceptions in the Ravens 19-3 win over the Jets back in 2013. The last time the Ravens faced Fitzpatrick, 2010, when Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills in what turned out to be a wild afternoon; Fitzpatrick threw for 374 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions as the Ravens won 37-34 in overtime.
If I were to take a wild guess, I believe the Ravens will see Ryan Fitzpatrick start this game, but he could very well be on a short leash. Geno Smith however, is still a possibility. No matter who the starting quarterback is for the Jets and despite the injuries, the Ravens must be prepared and do whatever they have to do to get a win on Sunday.