CLEVELAND — Told that Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath had advocated the halftime benching of Ryan Fitzpatrick on Sunday, Brandon Marshall quickly came to the defense of his quarterback.
“I don’t want to fight with Joe. They’ll throw me out of the city,” the receiver said with a smile after the Jets’ 31-28 win over the Browns. “Joe — you can’t say that. Come on, ‘Broadway.’ I like Joe. I have his number. We talk . . . But come on, Joe.”
With Fitzpatrick completing only 3 of 14 passes for 30 yards in the first half, Namath felt it was time for coach Todd Bowles to make a move. “Who thinks we should see Bryce Petty start the 2nd half? I know I do,” Namath tweeted. “It hurts to say this, but we’re not goin [sic] anywhere with Fitzpatrick.”
The person who counts most, however, disagreed. With his team trailing 20-7 at halftime, Bowles stuck with Fitzpatrick and the decision paid off. He finished 16-for-34 for 228 yards and one touchdown.
Bowles said after the game that he never considered benching his starter. When asked if he was worried that he’d get the hook at halftime, Fitzpatrick said, “No. Not at all.”
Last week, Namath questioned the severity of Geno Smith’s knee injury during the Jets’ win over the Ravens and later apologized publicly after Smith was diagnosed with an ACL tear.
“He got on Geno, too, last week, but Geno had an ACL,” Marshall said. “Joe, I’m not fighting against you. All for the New York fans, I’m not going against Joe, but Joe, come on, you can’t say that.”
Marshall later said with a laugh: “I would ask Joe, can you reserve your comment until after the game? That’s two weeks in row that you’ve been wrong, Joe. But, again, New York, I’m not going against Broadway Joe. They’ll try to get me out of here.”