NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ryan Fitzpatrick is returning to the Jets’ starting lineup. Again.
Coach Todd Bowles announced his decision Monday, six days before the Jets host the New England Patriots.
With Gang Green sitting at 3-7 and Fitzpatrick set to become a free agent after this season, the move is sure to draw criticism from fans and commentators who have argued it’s time for the team to see what its young quarterbacks can do.
Bryce Petty, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, made his first career start Nov. 13 while Fitzpatrick was dealing with a sprained knee. In a 9-6 loss to the Rams, Petty was 19-of-32 passing for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Second-round rookie Christian Hackenberg is also in the mix, but is thought to be a developmental project.
Bowles told reporters Monday that the only issue in making his decision was Fitzpatrick’s knee.
“He’s healthy,” Bowles said. “Ryan’s our starter.”
Last week, the New York Daily News reported that Bowles was concerned that he might lose control of the locker room if he did not stick with Fitzpatrick as the starter.
But a year after he led the Jets to a 10-6 record and set a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes, Fitzpatrick has struggled. He is 2-6 as a starter, having completed just 56.4 percent of his passes for 1,983 yards with eight touchdowns and an NFL-high 13 interceptions.
Fitzpatrick was benched after the Jets’ Oct. 17 loss at Arizona, but his replacement, Geno Smith, suffered a season-ending ACL tear the next week, opening the door for Fitzpatrick to reclaim the job.