After Tuesday's practice -- the first without an injured Geno Smith -- Bowles projected a sense of calm over a chaotic situation. He didn't get into the reason behind The Punch, reportedly over $600 Smith owed IK Enemkpali after a missed flight. Instead, Bowles chided the two men, calling it "some high school stuff they could have handled better than they handled it."
"That's a conversation we have to have when he comes back," Bowles told reporters on Smith's future as starter. "If anybody's playing great, you lose your spot by injury, you lose your spot by a bunch of things, so if he's playing great and the ship is going the right way, you don't make a move. But we'll see as we go.
"If the other guy's playing well, and the boat's going right, and there are no waves, and everything's going, and we're 4, 5, 6, 7-0? Yeah, you're not coming back to start."
Fitzpatrick followed Bowles on the podium. Like Bowles, Fitzpatrick declined to get into specifics of the incident, preferring to keep the situation "in house."
"Geno has put a lot of work in this offseason," Fitzpatrick said. "There's been a ton of improvement with him. I think it was just an unfortunate situation. There was a lot of disappointment on that end of it for him."
For Fitzpatrick, this will be the fourth team he's started a game with in as many years -- a bittersweet achievement, no doubt. He was asked if can handle the challenge.
"That's why I still play," he replied. "If I didn't want to be here and if I didn't love this game and if I didn't have confidence in myself then I wouldn't be standing here in front of you guys. I would be on vacation with my five kids, sailing off into the sunset with a career that nobody probably thought I would've had. But for me I'm not satisfied with what I've done."
Smith is expected to miss a minimum of six weeks, which would mean the earliest we can expect him to return is ahead of New York's Week 3 matchup against the Eagles. That timetable may be overly optimistic based on Bowles' comments.
Smith's loss is very clearly Fitzpatrick's gain. Let's see what the Amish Rifle does with what may be his last great opportunity.