After six weeks of shaky play from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the New York Jets (1-5) will start Geno Smith this Sunday against Baltimore (3-3).
As bad as Fitzpatrick has been with 11 interceptions, don’t expect Smith to be much better. In fact, he may actually be worse.
“I think if the competition were close between Fitzpatrick and Geno and the coaching staff had confidence that Geno could be the long-term answer at the quarterback position, they would have made this decision several weeks ago,” Rich Gannon said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “That’s how bad Fitzpatrick has been playing. I don’t think they have huge expectations for Geno Smith. The one thing that Geno does have, he’s got a strong arm. He can throw the ball down the field, he can throw the ball better outside the numbers. I think you should see this team get back to a little bit more of the quarterback under center running the football a little bit more with Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, some quarterback-movement things that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t like that Geno Smith does like. So that’s what I would expect.”
“But when you look at them and really study them, they’ve got some issues,” Gannon continued. “Fitzpatrick fell in love with Brandon Marshall after Decker went out. He forced balls to him, he was overly aggressive when they were down late in games, the offensive line on the right side in particular is not nearly as good. They miss D’Brickashaw Ferguson. They don’t even throw the ball (to their tight ends). They have four tight ends on the roster and they have three catches through six games. If I were Baltimore, I wouldn’t even bother covering the tight ends because they don’t even throw it to them. So they’ve got some things they got to get cleaned up. If it were me and I were Chan Gailey, the offensive coordinator, I’m going to take the ball out of the quarterback’s hands a little bit and I’m going to rely on those two big backs: Matt Forte and Bilal Powell.”
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, must find a way to win without Ben Roethlisberger, who could miss six weeks or more with a torn meniscus. Landry Jones will start in his absence.
“I just think it’s like going from a Ferrari to a Chevy,” Gannon said. “I’m not being critical of Landry Jones. He’s only started two games. He’s 1-1 as a starter. I think he’s only thrown 55 passes in this league. He’s no Ben Roethlisberger. I’m not trying to beat the guy up, but we’re talking about a special player in Roethlisberger that does so much. That is an explosive offense when Roethlisberger is in there. I’m curious to see what it looks like without Roethlisberger the next couple of years.”
The Steelers (4-2) host the Patriots (5-1) before their Week 8 bye.
As for Dallas (5-1), Gannon would stick with Dak Prescott even when Tony Romo is healthy enough to return.
“Romo might have gotten Wally Pipped on this one,” Gannon said. “This kid’s really playing well.”