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Geno Smith to start at QB for Jets vs. Ravens

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All aboard! The GenoCoaster is set to reopen in New York.

The New York Jets named Geno Smith their starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Ravens, coach Todd Bowles announced Wednesday.

"Geno's our starter. Ryan's the No. 2," Bowles said. "I felt like it was time for a change. This was strictly my call."

ESPN first reported the switch.

It's been a daily step towards benching Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Following Sunday's 28-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, coach Todd Bowles called Smith merely a bullpen pitcher, noting Fitzpatrick would retain his gig. On Tuesday, Bowles cracked the door open for a QB switch. On Wednesday, Smith takes over the reins of the 1-5 club.

It's been a quick spiral for Fitzpatrick.

The veteran had a career season for the Jets in 2015, setting a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes. His Week 17 blowup -- three interceptions -- proved a harbinger for a disastrous start to 2016. Through six weeks, Fitzpatrick ranks last in the NFL in completion percentage (57.0), interceptions (11), and passer rating (63.4). His 11 turnovers are more than 26 teams have committed this season. Fitzpatrick has been particularly dreadful in the second half (1 TD, 10 INTs) and red zone -- Jets rank last in RZ TD percentage (36.4).

After an offseason of overreaction to the contractual standoff between the Jets and Fitzpatrick, the team was proven right in not wanting to attach themselves to the journeyman quarterback for the long-term.

With a 32nd-ranked scoring offense earning just 15.8 points per game, the move to Smith is understandable.

The Jets weren't going anywhere with Fitzpatrick. Smith's history, however, doesn't suggest he'll immediately turn the plane around. Even his brief appearance Monday night was a microcosm of Smith's ups and downs. The fourth-year pro made some strong, confident throws, but also had a strip sack where he lacked awareness and an interception on fourth down.

Geno has upside, but it comes with semi-regular vomit-inducing plunges.

In a season that already appears lost, the Jets will give Smith a chance to show his worth before hitting free agency. If Smith struggles and the Jets corkscrew further into the abyss, we could see Bryce Petty get a shot. The Jets planned to redshirt Christian Hackenberg for the season, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the second-round rookie get some reps later this season as well.

Quarterback isn't the only problem for the Jets. The defense has been repeatedly toasted this season and the rushing attack has gone dormant.

Owner Woody Johnson told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Wednesday there would be no changes in the coach or front office, despite the current struggles.

Johnson, however, does support the decision to move forward with Geno.

"The coach made the decision, and I back him 100 percent," Woody said at the Fall League Meeting in Houston.

There will be changes on the field as New York attempt to recalibrate its descending trajectory.

For now, Geno Smith sits at the controls. Hold onto your butts.

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