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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

One bad game shouldn't cost Ryan Fitzpatrick his starting job with Jets

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) after

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) after the game between the Philadelphia Eagles at the New York Jets on September 27, 2015. Photo Credit: Lee S. Weissman

The answer -- at least for the time being -- is no. As it should be.

Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't come close to playing himself out of the Jets' starting quarterback job, and there is not even the hint of a thought on coach Todd Bowles' part to make a change now that Geno Smith has fully recovered from a broken jaw.

"Ryan's our starter," Bowles said after Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions in a 24-17 loss to the Eagles on Sunday.

No further explanation needed. Nor a follow-up question for clarification. Bowles' thinking is perfectly logical.

The first-year head coach is a calm, patient man who is mindful of the bigger picture, even if some early-season alarm bells went off about Fitzpatrick's poor showing in the Jets' first loss of the season. He wasn't sharp after two impressive performances, but he was far from the only guilty party in a mostly sloppy loss.

The running game was a non-factor without Chris Ivory (quadriceps), there was no Eric Decker (knee) and the defense produced only one turnover after creating 10 the first two weeks.

Once the Jets went down 24-0, Fitzpatrick had no choice but to put the ball in the air more than he wanted to. The result was a career-high 58 passes, and more often than not, bad things will happen when your quarterback throws that often. It wasn't surprising that he threw three interceptions.

"The formula for us is not turning the ball over and throwing it 58 times," said Fitzpatrick, whose previous high in attempts was 51 when he played for the Bills in 2010. "I think we know that. We've got to play a better game, a smarter game, and everybody on offense will contribute."

Bowles is correctly taking the long view in all this. Thus, his immediate reaction was to close the door on any speculation about Fitzpatrick remaining the starting quarterback. No need to go back on that decision after one bad game.

And if a change eventually is needed, it will be clear to everyone -- starting with Bowles -- that there is good reason to make a switch. That means it will take a series of bad games for him to make a move.

No Ivory meant no power running game and no Decker meant Brandon Marshall was the go-to receiver. Not that Marshall can't handle that role, but any team is much better when its top two receivers are in the mix.

Marshall responded with an uneven effort. He led the Jets with 10 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown, but he also made a foolish decision to attempt a lateral as he was being tackled, which resulted in a fumble the Eagles converted into a touchdown to make it 24-0. Marshall also short-armed a pass in the fourth quarter, and the ball deflected off his hands for an interception.

No excuses from Fitzpatrick, though.

"We had the two interceptions that hurt us," he said. "We had plenty of chances in the fourth quarter maybe to continue the momentum, and who knows what happens there."

It was particularly disappointing for Fitzpatrick to disappoint a crowd buzzing with anticipation after the Jets' unlikely 2-0 start.

"You felt the buzz and excitement pregame, the 'whiteout' and all that stuff," said Fitzpatrick, referencing the white towels fans were given at the game. "To come out and disappoint them, it's tough. But now we know we're not going to be undefeated this year."

He knows he still has his coach's confidence, even if that won't change his approach.

"I'm going to be the same guy every day," he said. "Coming off a loss like this and just feeling the disappointment, turning the ball over and not putting up enough points. I thought our defense played well enough for us to win. All that's just motivation to climb that hill, continue to try and get better as an offense, make some plays."

Fitzpatrick will get more chances to do just that. As it should be.

It's not time to make a change.

Not until there's demonstrable proof that there ought to be one. And if that day ever comes, it will be obvious to all.

Especially the coach. And even the quarterback.

New York Sports