FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Change is nothing new to Ryan Fitzpatrick.
After six teams in 11 NFL seasons, the bearded veteran quarterback is accustomed to adjusting on the fly.
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"My normal is craziness," said Fitzpatrick, who was thrust into the starting role after Geno Smith got his jaw broken during a locker-room altercation on Aug. 11. "Moving around, jumping from team to team, having to get used to different guys in a short period of time.
"The craziness is normal for me, I guess."
That's a good thing, considering crazy things always seem to happen at 1 Jets Drive.
But in the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding Smith's recovery (and his role on the team once he returns), the Jets have a game to play.
Friday night's preseason home opener against the Falcons will be the first real test for Todd Bowles' team. And they have plenty to prove.
"I expect to see us a little more polished than we were in Week 1, a little more calm hopefully," the first-year head coach said on Wednesday, referring to their 23-3 loss in Detroit in their first preseason game. "The tackling better change and we just have to get better week-by-week. There's a progress. We have a long way to go from last week, so hopefully we'll see a steady progression this week."
The Jets looked out of sync on both sides of the ball. But some of that miscommunication and indecision stems from the fact that Fitzpatrick was unexpectedly handed the offense just a day before the team boarded a plane for Detroit. Since then, he's had a few days to jell with the first-team offense.
"I feel good about it," said Fitzpatrick, who was 2-for-3 for 16 yards in one series vs. the Lions. "It's just, we have to get everybody up to speed and on the same page."
Desperate for veteran quarterback experience, the Jets signed perennial backup Matt Flynn on Wednesday. But he's at least a week away from being 100 percent healthy. That means that fourth-rounder Bryce Petty will see a lot of action for the second straight game. The rookie completed 10 of 18 passes for 50 yards against the Lions.
The Jets' starters are expected to play most of the first half against the Falcons. But Bowles' defense will be without one of its biggest stars. Muhammad Wilkerson will miss his second preseason game because of a nagging hamstring injury. "I can't wait to get back on the field with my teammates," he tweeted yesterday.
Wilkerson's absence, coupled with the fact that defensive lineman Ronald Tally is nursing a groin injury, means Sheldon Richardson may get to play some with the starters.