Fitzpatrick's flaws were exposed in the 24-17 loss to the Eagles at the Meadowlands, the Jets' first stumble of the season. New York fell behind 24-0 in the first half, putting the journeyman quarterback in the position of having to throw his team back into the game. Fitzpatrick tied a career high with 58 pass attempts and tossed three interceptions.
If a recipe for success revealed itself in the Jets' 2-0 start (run the ball, pass when necessary, create turnovers), Sunday was an opposite approach that yielded predictable results.
"Three interceptions," Bowles said after the game, per ESPN.com. "You can't turn the ball over. That's without saying. Whether they get tipped or anything like that, we know we can't turn the ball over. You're not going to win a game throwing three interceptions."
Fitzpatrick's deficiencies are obvious. The former Harvard man struggles to throw the ball downfield, which allows the opposing defense to shrink the field. It didn't help that the Jets played without Chris Ivory or Eric Decker, who has shown great chemistry with Fitzpatrick out of the slot. According to ProFootballFocus, Fitzpatrick is 3 for 20 for 85 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions on passes that travel at least 20 yards.
Bowles, predictably, backed Fitzpatrick as his starter after the Eagles loss. He reiterated that decision during an appearance on WEPN-FM in New York on Monday. "I'm going to get it after every single loss," said Bowles, regarding questions whether Fitzpatrick will remain the starter. "Ryan is the starter. End of discussion."
Smith was active Sunday, his first availability since former teammate IK Enemkpali slugged Smith into exile.
Fitzpatrick has been a vital source of stability for the Jets, but his job is far from secure as the calendar turns over to October. If Fitzpatrick struggles against Miami, Bowles will have a big decision to make. The Jets have a bye in Week 5, which would give Smith two weeks of prep ahead of a home date against the Redskins.